There were a series of deals this week, from Symington‘s move to buy two brands from Unilever and Valeo Foods Group’s acquisition of fellow Irish food maker Jacob Fruitfield Food Group to the latest move by Sara Lee to restructure its business and sell a North American unit to US company Ralcorp Holdings. Click on the headlines for more.

UPDATE: UK: Symington’s hails Chicken Tonight, Ragu acquisitions
The chief executive of Symington’s today (8 August) called the company’s acquisition of cooking sauce brands Chicken Tonight and Ragu a “significant step” for the privately-owned UK food group.

In the spotlight: Valeo could look to UK after Jacob Fruitfield deal
Valeo Food Group’s acquisition of Irish rival Jacob Fruitfield Food Group has highlighted the company’s ambition to lead consolidation in Ireland’s food sector. But is the move likely to signal ambitions further afield? Michelle Russell reports.

Focus: Sara Lee move adds to uncertainty around Ralcorp
Last month, Ralcorp Holdings announced it would “aggressively” look to make acquisitions to expand its private-label operations, which are set to stand alone after a spin off of branded cereals business Post. The deal to buy Sara Lee’s refrigerated dough unit is part of that strategy. However, there is still uncertainty over the future of the US company, with speculation over the intentions of ConAgra Foods, which made a bid for the whole business in May.

UK: More Ralcorp lines could follow Honey Bunches of Oats launch
More Ralcorp Holdings products could be launched in the UK in the coming months following the introduction of flagship cereal brand Honey Bunches of Oats.

UK: Tesco threatens legal action over OFT price-fixing fine
Tesco has said it could take legal action against the decision from the UK’s Office of Fair Trading to fine the retailer over GBP10m (US$16.1m) for fixing the price of cheese.

Focus: Mixed verdict on EU health claims process
Europe’s food watchdog has finished its evaluation of almost 3,000 health claims put forward by manufacturers for use on their products. The process has had its critics but, now that it is complete, what will be the impact on the industry? MJ Deschamps reports.

On the money: Nestle CFO Singh bullish on H1
Nestle CFO James Singh has hailed the company’s “very strong operating performance” in the first half of 2011.

On the money: Sara Lee looks ahead to “year of transition”
Sara Lee’s next financial year is set to be a “year of transition”, according to chairman Jan Bennink, as the company completes a number of disposals and realises plans to split the business in two.

RUSSIA: Lenta shareholders buy out Svoboda
Over a year of animosity between the owners of Russian grocery retailer Lenta is set to end, with three of the shareholders buying out the fourth investor.

BRICs and beyond: Danone enters India’s buoyant infant-formula market
India’s infant nutrition sector is expanding rapidly and it is set to have a new entrant – Danone. Last week, the French food group struck a deal to buy the nutrition business of local company Wockhardt Group, a move that means it will compete head on market leader Nestle.