Europe’s food sector saw its latest piece of consolidation this week with Orkla‘s bid to buy Nordic rival Rieber & Son. Elsewhere, US food group Hain Celestial continued its UK expansion with its deal to acquire brands from Premier Foods. Tesco grabbed the headlines with its U-turn on nutrition labels and we had a run of retail results from grocers including Ahold, Delhaize and Russia’s X5 Retail Group.

Orkla’s FMCG focus leads to Rieber buy
The Norwegian conglomerate wants to be a “pure-play” FMCG business and this week it made its first major acquisition – a deal to snap up local food group Rieber & Son.

US: Premier deal gives us “scale” in UK, says Hain
Hain Celestial’s acquisition of Premier Foods’ spreads assets will make the US food group “a scale player” in the UK, a senior executive has claimed.

Consuming issues: Tesco leaves FDF at lights
The unexpected announcement by Tesco that it will incorporate colour-coding, or ‘traffic lights’, into its front-of-pack nutritional labelling surprised industry watchers but has more importantly left UK food manufacturers isolated, writes Ben Cooper.

CHINA: China to impose nutrition facts label on pre-packed foods
New Chinese labelling rules in force from next year should change consumer behaviour, encouraging the purchase of healthier foods, a government health expert has told just-food.

On the money: Ahold eyes margin recovery in Netherlands
Dutch retailer Ahold has said it expects to see its margins recover in the Netherlands after conceding they were “weaker than expected” in the first half.

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BRICs and beyond: Russia’s X5 struggles to deliver on strategic objectives
X5 Retail Group has had a turbulent year. Management changes and a significant strategic shift that has sidelined the importance of M&A to the group’s expansion plans have combined with an intensely competitive market to leave Russia’s largest retailer losing share to its peers. Katy Askew suggests the next 12 months will be telling for the company.

On the money: Delhaize to “redouble” efficiency efforts with new plan
Belgian retailer Delhaize Group, which saw profits fall in the first half of the year, is preparing a new efficiency plan to redouble efforts to save costs.

Focus: Robust Lindt looks to drive growth
Swiss chocolate maker Lindt has posted a robust set of first-half numbers given the weak economic sentiment that has prevailed in its largest markets. As it moves into the back half of the year – where the group generates the majority of its profits – the firm will undoubtedly be looking to increase its growth rate.

Talking shop: Confident Ocado surprises City with Tesco offensive
Ocado’s decision to launch a price comparison campaign against rival and retail giant Tesco has been met with confusion and surprise by some analysts, one of whom suggests the UK online retailer could be hastening its demise with the move.

Comment: Co-op has plenty to ponder after unsurprising H1 results
Another fall in profits from The Co-operative Group’s food stores has hardly surprised the UK retail sector and there is the feeling the country’s fifth-largest grocer has a lot to do to revitalise its grocery business.