The weak consumer climate was brought into sharp relief in the UK this week when data showed the steepest drop in food sales volumes for over 20 years. On the other side of the Irish Sea, retailer Superquinn moved into receivership and local rival Musgrave was lined up as a buyer, although the deal has met opposition. And, in the US, PepsiCo became the first of the major food makers to issue second-quarter results – with a promise to raise prices to offset commodity pressure. Click on the headlines for more.

UK: UK sees record fall in food sales volumes
UK retailers have seen the sharpest fall in food volumes in almost a quarter of a century, according to the latest data from the Office of National Statistics.

IRELAND: Director opposition puts Superquinn sale in doubt
The sale of Irish retailer Superquinn is in doubt after two of the company’s directors went to court to block the business from being put into receivership.

On the money: PepsiCo ups prices but stays upbeat on snacks
PepsiCo has increased prices in a bid to tackle commodity costs but, reporting its second-quarter results, the company was upbeat about the performance of its snacks brands.

US: Retailers commit to opening stores in food deserts
Leading US retailers including Wal-Mart Stores, Supervalu Inc and Walgreens have committed to opening stores in low-income areas as part of an initiative with the Partnership for a Healthier America and First Lady Michelle Obama.

FRANCE: Le Maire threatens Anuga boycott over foie gras ban
French Agriculture Minister Bruno Le Maire has threatened to boycott this year’s Anuga trade show after a decision to stop foie gras producers from exhibiting at the event.

US: We are committed to cutting salt, says Campbell
Campbell Soup Co. has insisted it would continue to offer low-sodium soups in the wake of criticism of the US food maker’s plans to add salt to certain products.

INDIA: Britannia to build plant, R&D centre in Bangalore
Indian biscuit manufacturer Britannia Industries has confirmed to just-food that it will set up a bakery and an R&D centre on the outskirts of Bangalore. 

Focus: US food companies look to take initiative on kids marketing
US food manufacturers have launched uniformed, voluntary guidelines for food and drink products marketed to children in a response to mooted government voluntary standards. Ben Cooper examines whether the industry move can forestall government action.

BRICs and beyond: Brasil Foods shareholders relieved as merger approved
The announcement that Brazil’s competition watchdog had given its blessing to the merger that formed Brasil Foods eased ongoing shareholder concerns that the 2009 deal would not in fact be approved. However, while the transaction was approved, conditions have been placed on Brasil Foods’ operations. What will this mean for company? Petah Marian reports.

Comment: Concerns grow over Brazilian sugar supply
Fears of a fall in the sugar supply from Brazil – the world’s largest producer – are growing. Poor weather, concerns over future investment in milling capacity and the Brazilian government’s support for ethanol production are cited as key reasons for a forecast shortage, which could push up global sugar prices. Michelle Russell reports.