EU food commissioner Dacian Ciolos opposes dairy quotas

EU food commissioner Dacian Ciolos opposes dairy quotas

With spring in the air, food makers in Europe and the US seemed in buoyant mood this week. Finland's Fazer Group claimed "more confidence" in 2010 and Switzerland's Orior insisted that the improved economic environment meant that the time is "right" to launch an IPO. In the US, Kroger and ConAgra Foods both suggested that the competitive environment and pressure on pricing was easing. Meanwhile, PepsiCo insisted that healthy products were profitable products as it unveiled plans for product reformulation.

"The fundamentals for growth are good for us in frozen," ConAgra consumer foods president André Hawaux rebuffs concerns that the highly-promotional frozen category is stagnant.

"I have much more confidence in 2010 than I had 12 months ago but I don't see a big growth in our business. We can increase our top line a little bit but it won't be a quantum leap," Fazer Group CEO Karsten Slotte on the outlook for the Finnish firm in the coming year.

"We live in a new situation and need to find appropriate solutions. The crisis has been one of a contraction in demand and it is clear that the quotas, which continue in place for now, did not provide a solution," EU Agriculture Commissioner Dacian Ciolos (pictured) rules out maintaining dairy quotas.

"We believe that a healthier future for all people and our planet means a more successful future for PepsiCo," chairman and CEO Indra Nooyi suggests health means wealth for PepsiCo.

"In the last six months some of the aggression that some of our competitors have had I think is a direct result of having negative IDs," Kroger chief executive and chairman David Dillon claims food inflation, which will lead to higher ID sales, will ease price competition.

"The economy is slowly coming up, now is a good moment," Rolf Sutter, chief executive of Swiss convenience food firm Orior, on the company's pending IPO.

"In order to retain market share, [Perrigo's acquisition of PBM] will force the three other US baby formula companies – Abbot, Mead and Nestlé – to step up their innovation as retailers such as Target and Wal-Mart seek to promote the higher-margin private-label formulas at the expense of the national brands," Virginia Lee, senior industry analyst at Euromonitor, suggests Perrigo's PBM buy will increase competition in US baby food

"We are rolling over a quarter where we had a 500 basis point margin expansion… We had very strong HMM, a little bit of deflation that is helping... As the year has unfolded we have had less of a price benefit as we have now fully lapped any pricing," General Mills finance chief Don Mulligan thinks margin growth could be tough to maintain.

"We have seen a step change in efficiency because we were a collection of smaller companies that came together. But it will be a lot harder work from here on in," Finsbury Food Group CEO John Duffy on improving the UK cake maker's efficiency.

"Consumers moved away from all the Hershey premium concepts - Starbucks, Schaffenberger and all those. Also, other companies in the premium area like, for example, Cote d'Or and Green & Black's, didn't make it in the US. The two guys who really made it in the US in premium are Lindt and Ghirardelli," Lindt & Sprungli marketing director Uwe Sommer tells just-food that the Swiss chocolate maker prospered despite pressure on the premium chocolate category in the US in 2009.