Heinz chairman, president and CEO Bill Johnson announced plans for cut-price products - and the closure of more factories

Heinz chairman, president and CEO Bill Johnson announced plans for cut-price products - and the closure of more factories

There was increasing speculation over the future strategies of PepsiCo and Unilever this week, with talk the structure of the two companies could change. HJ Heinz, meanwhile, is undergoing its own period of change and announced plans to close three more factories.

"Our view has been that PepsiCo is being ineffectively managed, undermining the opportunity for investors to participate in intrinsic value" - Stifel Nicolaus analysts Mark Swartzberg and Aashiv Shah join the calls for improvement at the US food and drink group.

"We think it is hard to believe Unilever will be willing to dismantle all of its exposure to the sector, maybe yes in developed markets (especially regional/domestic brands) but certainly not in emerging countries or where Unilever ticks the boxes of dominant market positions and intact or strong growth prospects" - an analyst from Fitch Ratings said Unilever's position in ice cream means it was unlikely to completely exit the food sector.

"After a series of acquisitions in recent years which placed the company among the global leaders of the food industry, we are at a unique moment in our history" - JBS - CEO Wesley Mendonça Batista after the Brazilian meat group reported a third-quarter loss but, he said, saw a "significant improvement" in its operations during the period.

"Developed markets are experiencing low consumer confidence, high unemployment and economic uncertainty" - Heinz chairman, president and CEO Bill Johnson speaking as the US food giant announced plans for cut-price products - and the closure of more factories.

"It's tough out there. The consumer is feeling really bruised...it's going to be a tough Christmas but we think we're well prepared for it" - Morrisons CEO Dalton Philips said by spending GBP100m (US$157.7m) on a promotional push over Christmas, the retailer will lure in cash-strapped consumers.

"We remain very concerned for the family involved and very much hope the children recover fully. We are pleased that the FSA has found nothing, to date, to suggest that a problem occurred in our factory and we remain confident in the quality of our products and processes" - Premier Foods plc supply chain director Bob Spooner reflecting on the cases of botulism linked to a jar of the company's Loyd Grossman curry sauce.

"The European market for sweeteners generates US$500m and we predict that the European market for Stevia-based sweeteners should reach an additional $100m next year" - Hugues Pitre, vice-president and managing director for Merisant's operations in the Europe, Middle East and Africa outlines the company's forecast for stevia.

"We are effectively managing this period of significant cost inflation, where our cost of goods sold increased approximately 30% for the quarter, yet, we posted gross profit growth" - CEO Richard Smucker insists the US food maker is managing cost increases, pointing to a 1% rise in gross profit.

"If I am going to get you the best returns, I need permanent capital - and that means I need Trading Among Farmers" - Fonterra CEO, Theo Spierings said Fonterra needs to introduce share trading among its farmer members to improve the company's performance

"Fray Bentos will provide an array of opportunities to develop our position in the UK market and internationally" - Baxters Food Group chairman Audrey Baxter believes canned pie brand Fray Bentos, the UK soup maker's latest acquisition, has a lot of potential.