It was no surprise that Russia’s decision to temporarily ban wheat exports grabbed your attention this week. Wheat prices have soared in recent days and food makers will be facing rising commodity costs at the same time as facing still-weak consumer confidence. Two other stories out of Russia, Mars Inc’s latest chocolate investment and a shareholder spat at food retailer Lenta, were highlights – as was our August just-food interview with the boss of Kellogg UK, Greg Peterson.

RUSSIA: Moscow bans grain exports following drought
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has imposed a temporary ban on exports of grain and other agricultural products derived from corn from the country due to the worst drought in a century. 

RUSSIA: Mars Inc to open largest chocolate plant in Russia
Mars Inc expects to launch its second and largest confectionery factory in Russia in 2012. 

RUSSIA: Lenta stakeholders in spat over CEO appointment
Shareholders in Russian retailer Lenta have become embroiled in a spat over the appointment of the company’s new chief executive.  

In the spotlight: The debate over cloned meat in the UK
With meat from the offspring of a cloned cow entering the UK food chain, a debate has erupted about what kind of meat customers are willing to accept. The FSA says that it is illegal, while the EU suggests the rules only apply to the clones and not their offspring. Regardless of the details, the issue has generated a great deal of passion among consumers, who are keen to know what they’re eating. 

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The just-food interview – Greg Peterson, Kellogg UK
Kellogg is home to some of the UK’s best-known food brands and perhaps because of that recognition the company often faces criticism from campaigners who see the food industry as part of the cause of the country’s obesity crisis. For this month’s just-food interview, Dean Best met with Kellogg UK managing director Greg Peterson on the day he announced significant reformulation plans from the cereal maker. 

On the money: Unilever’s Polman outlines Europe’s weak growth prospects
Paul Polman, the chief executive of Unilever, said today (5 August) that developing markets will drive the group’s expansion and admitted that Western Europe will only enjoy modest growth in the years ahead. 

Comment: Second thoughts on private-equity secondary buyouts
Type the term ‘private equity’ into just-food and the site will return 26 separate articles in July alone. The high return is not only a reflection of the food sector’s ability to attract investment in uncertain times, it is also an indication of a rising number of secondary buyouts – where private-equity sells to private-equity rather than back to the trade. 

Promo Tracker: Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s, Ocado up promos
More of the SKUs on sale at Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Ocado were on promotion in July than a month earlier, according to the latest just-food Promo Tracker. 

On the money: Own-label bread decline no concern for Premier Foods
Premier Foods plc has brushed off concerns over declining volumes from its non-branded breads division. 

On the money: Metro Group boss Cordes sees signs of recovery
The chief executive of Metro Group said today (2 August) that he believes that trading conditions for the the world’s third-largest retailer are beginning to improve after a challenging year for the German group.