Commodity costs was a central theme this week and the likes of Kraft Foods and PepsiCo, announcing their annual results, said the pressure, which began in earnest in the second half of 2010, would continue into 2011. Meanwhile, the race for Yoplait heated up, with nine bids coming in for the yoghurt brand. Premier Foods sold off another asset, this time offloading its canned grocery business to Princes. And, on our insight pages, we took a look at the UK convenience retail channel, the debate over eco-labelling and spoke to French dairy business Candia about operating in north Africa and the Middle East.

On the money: “Iconic” brands will help Kraft battle input costs – CEO
Kraft Foods chairman and CEO Irene Rosenfeld has insisted that the US food giant’s “very, very strong, iconic brands” and its marketing plans will help the company convince retailers to increase prices in the face of rising raw-material costs.

On the money: Commodities remain “major headwind” for PepsiCo
PepsiCo has said that it expects a “highly competitive environment” in 2011, with commodity costs remaining a “major headwind” for the snacks and beverage giant.

UK: Premier Foods sells canned grocery brands to Princes
Premier Foods plc has reached an agreement to sell its canned grocery operations in East Anglia to fellow UK food and drink group Princes.

FRANCE: PAI Partners confirms nine bids for Yoplait
Private-equity firm PAI Partners has confirmed that it has received nine bids for its 50% stake in Yoplait, the global yoghurt brand.

UK: Findus restructures UK seafood business
Young’s Seafood, The Seafood Co and Findus UK are to be brought together to create Young’s Seafood Ltd, the UK’s largest supplier of fish and seafood.

On the money: Two new companies should prosper from split – Sara Lee
Sara Lee CEO Marcel Smits again today (8 February) outlined the benefits of the US food group splitting into two and insisted the new companies “should do very well” as separate entities. 

Talking shop: What is the future of convenience?
The major UK grocery retailers only account for some 4,000 of the 48,000 stores operating in the country’s fast-growing convenience sector, making it ripe for growth – and, writes Petah Marian, the leading players are scrambling to build a presence in the channel.

BRICs and beyond: Sodiaal’s Candia in the Middle East and Africa
Northern Africa and the Middle East are in the spotlight, with the unrest that surfaced in Tunisia last month spreading to the current ongoing protests in Egypt. Stuart Todd spoke to Jean-Luc Deher, international director of French dairy processor Candia.

In the spotlight – Defra and eco labelling
A Defra-commissioned report into eco labelling for food was published on Monday while the government department has recently updated its Green Claims Guidance. Ben Cooper looks at how the UK government is approaching the complex issue of eco labelling for food.

The just-food interview – Matti Rihko, Raisio
A year on from its acquisition of snack and confectionery maker Glisten, Finnish food company Raisio has made another move for a UK firm. The company has snapped up Big Bear Group, the owner of brands from Sugar Puffs cereal to Fox’s confectionery. In this month’s just-food interview, Michelle Russell spoke to Raisio CEO Matti Rihko about his company’s latest acquisition.