Our discussion of Whole Foods’ battle to see off newly-listed rivals Sprouts Farmers Market and Fairway, Unilever’s ongoing moves to rationalise its portfolio, the impact Chinese demand was having on global infant formula supplies and the continued M&A in the sector were among the most popular analysis articles on just-food this year.

Talking shop: Whole Foods can see off natural, organic rivals
For all the recent headlines around the IPOs of US natural and organic retailers Sprouts Farmers Market and Fairway Group Holdings, Whole Foods Market remains the one to watch, writes Dean Best.

On the money: Unilever to rationalise portfolio to “max the mix”
Unilever has suggested it will work to further rationalise its portfolio – opening up the possibility more disposals could be in the offing – as it looks to focus on fewer, stronger brands in order to “max the mix”.

On the money: Sainsbury’s unfazed by competitive promotions
Sainsbury’s has said it will not be adding own-label products to its Brand Match price comparison scheme despite Tesco including private label in its new programme.

Deal or no deal: General Mills touted as WhiteWave suitor
Dean Foods has formally given the green light for the spin-off of soy and organic business WhiteWave Foods – and analysts are setting out companies they believe could be interested in the Horizon Organic and Alpro owner.

In the spotlight: Infant formula prices drive Chinese consumers overseas
Retailers are rationing the amount of infant formula consumers can buy in markets including Hong Kong, Australia and now the UK. The move has been prompted by the huge demand for infant formula in China, with consumers buying products overseas and shipping them home. While you might think rationing comes in response to supply shortages, in actual fact it is more likely an attempt to protect the power to price the same product differently in different markets. Katy Askew reports.

Focus: Mondelez details plant, supplier, SKU shake-up
Oreo and Cadbury owner Mondelez International has revealed more details on its plans to boost margins, which will see it revamp its production network, do business with fewer suppliers and offer fewer SKUs.

Deal or no deal: Cargill touted as ADM cocoa suitor
Reports emerged in July that US agribusiness giant Cargill is exploring the possibility of buying Archer Daniels Midland’s (ADM) cocoa business. While not confirmed, such a purchase would create a global giant in the sector. Michelle Russell takes a closer look.

Deal or no deal: Unilever’s Peperami draws buyer speculation
Unilever could soon be selling another food brand. The company, which has offloaded a number of food assets in recent years, is understood to be on the look out for a buyer for its Peperami snack brand. While Unilever has declined to comment on the reports, analysts have offered their views as to who might snap up this “animal” of a brand.

BRICs and beyond: China looks to tighten food safety regulation
The elevation of China’s State Food & Drug Administration (SFDA) to a ministry level entity will consolidate the oversight of food safety issues under one umbrella. The Chinese authorities are hoping that the move will convince consumers that the government is serious about tackling the country’s food safety problems. Nevertheless, a number of challenges remain. David Green reports from Beijing.

In the spotlight: Danone to build on baby nutrition success with organic buy
Danone’s deal to acquire over 90% of US organic baby food firm Happy Family is a first for the French food giant in the category and appears to strengthen its fast-growing infant-nutrition division. Michelle Russell takes a look at the deal.