Last week, just-food was live at the Consumer Analyst Group Europe conference, where some of the largest industry names including Nestle, Strauss and Danone provided business updates. Elsewhere, Mars confirmed plans to invest in a Snickers production plant in India. Rumours were also rife General Mills was looking to offload its Green Giant business. Here is the week in quotes.
"It's not religion. It's not like we are not going to walk away from any category or any business in any market that, for whatever reason, we can't fix or we just don't fix" – Nestle CFO Wang Martello admits the company has put a "clock" on efforts to improve the performance of its US frozen food business.
"It gets harder as you go further forward but there's undoubtedly more we can do in terms of rationalising the suppliers and getting better deals from that part of the supply chain," – Alistair Murray, CFO of Premier Foods, says the UK company sees more opportunities to reduce costs from its supplier base as it looks to continue to fund investment in its brands.
"We would like to acquire. We acquired two brands last year. It's about the brand having the right fit. We like to acquire brands that are in growth, we like to acquire brands that we feel would fit into our portfolio" – Glanbia MD Siobhan Talbot says the company is prepared to make more deals.
"The reception from consumers, retailers and farmers tells us that A2 Milk has a real and significant part to play in restoring confidence in dairy milk among the many Americans who have significantly reduced their consumption in recent years" – A2 Milk marketing director Jim Smith speaks of the company's US debut, set for next month.
"For some time now, we have been transporting slaughter pigs across Denmark to utilise capacity in Ringsted, which is not a sensible solution. Basically, not enough pigs are being produced on Zealand at the moment to warrant a slaughterhouse of this size" –? Soren Eriksen, VP of production at Danish Crown, comments as the group confirms plans to cut capacity at a facility in Denmark.
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?"India is a high priority market for Mars. We are here because we have a long term view of business in India, to deliver sustainable, generational growth leading to mutual benefits for all our industry, our suppliers, our customers and consumers" – Ehab Abou-Oaf, president of Mars Inc's Asia Pacific business, on the company's plans to invest more than US$160m in a plant in India.
"Danone does not need to make any transformative deals to be a success" – Danone CEO Emmanuel Faber insists Danone will look at opportunities but will not pursue a large deal if it reduces the company's return on invested capital or necessitates a rights issue.
"Judging from the Annie's acquisition, more of that kind of M&A would be a reasonable assumption, should these reports prove to be true. WhiteWave would command a hefty price but [its] recent actions are likely driving its external appeal. Whatever its long-term plans and the other considerable strengths of WhiteWave’s portfolio, management's recent actions are likely driving its near-term appeal to hungry big packaged food companies, through expanding SKUs to drive the top line while expanding margins" – Athlos Research analyst Jonathan Feeney comments on speculation that General Mills is looking to offload Green Giant.
"It’s worrying that cereal bars, especially those aimed at children or claiming to be healthy, contain so much sugar but most don’t make this clear on the front of the pack" – UK consumer watchdog Which? executive director Richard Lloyd comments on findings that some cereal bar packs in the UK contain more than 40 per cent sugar.
"I'm often asked about the future growth potential of Sabra. If you look at household penetration of hummus is 29% and our household penetration is 21%, so there is still huge potential to increase household penetration" – Strauss Group's director of investor relations Talia Sessler says the company has internally forecast the US fresh dips category will hit US $3bn in five years' time.