Fonterra CEO Theo Spierings

Fonterra CEO Theo Spierings

This week Fonterra announced it was selling its yoghurt and dairy business in Australia to Parmalat, Chinese fruit groups Golden Wing Mau and Joyvio announced a merger and UK meat group Dunbia confirmed it was mulling options for the business. Belgium's Lotus Bakeries bought UK snacks group Urban Fresh Foods, its second deal in the country in four months and, looking to next year, we analysed the prospects for the BRIC markets in 2016. Here is the week in quotes.

"We are focusing on areas where we can win in a highly competitive market, and that means optimising our product mix and streamlining operations to match, and investing in higher value add products that will deliver the best returns for our farmer shareholders and unit holders" - Fonterra CEO Theo Spierings on the group's announcement it is to offload its yoghurt and dairy business in Australia to Lactalis-owned Parmalat.

"With this acquisition we will lead the way and become the true category captain of the healthy snacking category in the UK and abroad," Jan Boone, CEO of Lotus Bakeries, looks ahead after the Belgian group followed its majority stake in UK group Natural Balance Foods with the takeover of Bear snacks owner Urban Fresh Foods.

"China needs large, professional and well-capitalised agricultural businesses, but I get a bit nervous though when I hear about merging two companies with many sub-entities while at the same time pushing forward aggressive expansion plans. The dangers of ponderousness, complexity and differing agendas are often underestimated" - Torsten Stocker, partner at management consulting firm AT Kearney, voices doubts over the new merger between Chinese fruit firms, Joyvio Group and The Golden Wing Mau Group.

"Dunbia has enjoyed consistent growth over the past number of years and has ambitious plans to grow and expand the business. Market dynamics are continually evolving and we are currently exploring the best options to ensure that we are well placed to meet the demands of the marketplace, now and in the future. We have received several serious expressions of interest from would-be investors over the past two years and we are now considering options for maximising the potential of the company going forward" - a spokesperson for Dunbia confirms the UK meat group is weighing up options for the business.

"One hundred percent of the samples tested show Maggi noodles is safe for consumption and indicate lead to be much below the limit stipulated by the regulatory authorities. This was also validated by the reports from three accredited laboratories mandated by the Hon'ble Bombay High Court to test the samples" - a Nestle spokesperson comments after India's Supreme Court stays proceedings being brought against the company by the country's consumer protection body over the Maggi recall.

"We have plans of installing additional capacities and constructing new buildings to house new lines and expand warehouses on our existing geography locations but we would rather not disclose the exact locations yet as these are ongoing plans and programmes" - Philippines-based Universal Robina Corp., reveals plans to expand production in Asia.

"This acquisition is in line with Orkla's aim to grow in selected categories and markets where we see a potential for further growth and synergies. Frusco and Briceland both hold strong positions as suppliers to the Dutch ice cream market, and the acquisition is strategically important for strengthening OFI's presence in selected geographies in Europe" - Pål Eikeland, CEO of Orkla's food ingredients arm, comments after the firm announces it has acquired a majority stake in two Dutch ice cream suppliers.

"Unfortunately the word hasn't reached enough people and Yulu isn't selling as quickly as we hoped" - WhiteWave Foods announces it is withdrawing "Australian-style" yoghurt brand Yulu just nine months after its launch in the US.

"The rouble has halved now from about a year ago. That's having an obvious impact on the cost and demand of imported foods products. Wages have risen only modestly, if at all. The economic slowdown has resulted in significant job losses and I think more are expected" - Russia will continue to present a string of challenges to packaged food firms through 2016, argues Ian Luyt, director at Russia-based food and agribusiness advisory firm Novirost, as part of our look at the prospects for the BRIC markets next year.

"The infant formula market in Australia is rapidly evolving and experiencing significant growth. The company has recently increased the supply of A2 Platinum infant formula to our customers however we continue to experience a level of out-of-stocks on shelf" - New Zealand's A2 Milk Co. upped its sales and EBITDA targets for the second time in a month this week but Geoffrey Babidge, the company's MD and CEO, indicated the challenge in forecasting the company's performance due to issues in Australia.