In the week that just-food kicked off its Open House period, the food sector saw a merger with implications on both sides of the Atlantic with the deal between Greencore and Northern Foods. In the US, Heinz, JM Smucker and Wal-Mart Stores reported their latest numbers to Wall Street. And, in Europe, the battle for yoghurt brand Yoplait intensified when Lactalis tabled a EUR1.4bn (US$1.91bn) – that was swiftly rejected – while the EU launched plans to reform farm policy.

Greencore merges with Northern Foods
Our coverage of the merger that creates Essenta Foods, an Anglo-Irish convenience food maker, can be accessed here.

The battle for yoghurt brand Yoplait
Lactalis this week fired the starting gun on the race for Yoplait with a EUR1.4bn bid. How have the yoghurt maker’s investors reacted? Are any other potential suitors likely to come to the table?

Focus: Industry reacts to EU CAP reform
Europe’s food manufacturing industry has given a lukewarm welcome to the European Commission’s new priorities to reform the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) after 2013 – but its representatives want more concrete action.

Brics and beyond: Two French retailers in south-east Asia
What lies ahead for Carrefour and Casino in the fast-growing region after this week’s deal in Thailand between the two companies?

On the money: Heinz flags China in emerging-market push
China is set to become increasingly important to Heinz, with the US food giant today (19 November) describing the country today as “key” to its future growth.

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On the money: Wal-Mart remains optimistic on US turnaround
Wal-Mart remains optimistic it will post a positive comparative-store sales result in the fourth quarter, despite continuing sluggish sales in its US home market.

On the money: Competitive pricing hits JM Smucker oils, baking division
US food group JM Smucker said “unprecedented competitive pricing” throughout the second quarter contributed to volume declines in its oils and baking segment.

RSPO logo to give sustainable palm oil on-pack profile
The launch of an on-pack logo will raise public awareness about palm oil. But it will also mean that criticisms of sustainably-sourced palm oil voiced by groups such as Greenpeace are likely to attract more media attention.

CHINA: Kraft continues Lianhua negotiations
Kraft Foods has said it wants to reach agreement with Lianhua Supermarket after the Chinese retailer stopped selling the US food giant’s biscuits amid rumours of a supply dispute.

UK: Unilever to increase prices
Knorr soups maker Unilever said it will increase prices on some of its products in a bid to recoup higher commodity costs.