The headlines had a European flavour this week with the ongoing uncertainty over the future of French poultry giant Groupe Doux and the takeover of Metro Group’s UK cash-and-carry division by food wholesaler Booker. Elsewhere, we talked to Swiss manufacturer and retailer Migros about its sustainability, published a management briefing on fat reformulation and took an in-depth look at the UK’s challenging milk sector.

Shadow hangs over poultry giant Doux
The French processor, facing pressure from the banks to lower its EUR430m debts, is locked in talks with potential investors, lenders and the country’s government to find a solution.

Booker snaps up Metro’s troubled UK arm
The UK food wholesaler has acquired Makro UK, the long-suffering local arm of German retail giant Metro Group. Can Booker breathe fresh life into the embattled business?

UK: Management takes majority stake in Symington’s
Senior directors at Symington‘s have snapped up a majority stake in the UK food group in a private-equity backed management buy-out.

Category crunch: Turbulent times in UK liquid milk
The UK liquid milk sector is experiencing an ongoing decline in value sales. Despite gradually increasing volumes, the price being paid for milk is dropping. As a consequence, milk producers find themselves struggling to turn a profit in the category. In part one of our two-part Category Crunch, Katy Askew looks at the dynamics shaping the UK’s liquid milk market.

The just-food international basket – Q1 2012
The latest data from the just-food international basket, published today, covers the first quarter of 2012. The basket is a group of 17 items from tuna to milk that will highlight the difference in price between national brands and own label in seven international markets. Amid the worst economic conditions for a generation, shoppers are becoming more promiscuous in their behaviour and the data will prove valuable to brand manufacturers, own-label suppliers and retailers alike.

MEXICO: PepsiCo site remains closed after firebomb attack
One of the five PepsiCo distribution centres in Mexico hit by firebomb attacks at the weekend remains closed, the US food giant has confirmed.

Fat reformulation – the challenge of change
The food industry is changing product recipes in response to pressure from regulators, campaigners and consumers but reformulation remains a challenge. In this month’s management briefing, Ben Cooper looks at the progress that has been made and analyses if manufacturers can do more.

Sustainability Watch – Cornelia Diethelm, Migros
The Swiss co-operative group, Migros, comprises possibly the most diverse portfolio of companies imaginable. For the past five years, establishing a consistent approach to sustainability across this varied group of businesses has been the task of Cornelia Diethelm, head of issue management and sustainability. Here she discusses her role and the Migros sustainability strategy with Ben Cooper.

just the answer – Geraldine Marks, Baxters Food Group
With the summer upon us, many consumers will be firing up their BBQs and donning humorous aprons. While barbecue sauces represent a relatively small segment of the overall market for table sauces, it is a category that has witnessed considerable growth of late. Geraldine Marks, licensed brands manager at Baxters Food Group, talks to Katy Askew about the company’s plans for the Jack Daniels BBQ sauce range that Baxters produces under license in the UK, Europe and South Africa.