2016 was another year in which just-food and its team of international writers spoke to the food industry’s leading executives. Here’s a rundown of the most popular among our readership over the last 12 months.

How PepsiCo is taking action on palm oil

In September, PepsiCo publishes the first update on its “palm oil action plan”. Ben Cooper spoke with Andrew Aulisi, senior director for global environmental policy at ‎PepsiCo, about the progress to date and how the company’s initial actions and achievements are likely to be received by environmental campaigners.

How Mondelez International’s ownership is helping Enjoy Life grow

When Mondelez International swooped for US free-from food maker Enjoy Life Foods last year, the snack food giant said it was gaining access to the “fast-growth” free-from food sector via a “market-leading brand”. One year on and Mondelez’s resources have opened up a number of growth avenues for Enjoy Life. Joel Warady, Enjoy Life’s chief sales and marketing officer, speaks to just-food about how the business is looking to capitalise on its growing potential.

Why Urban Fresh Foods plumped for Lotus Bakeries’ ownership

Urban Fresh Foods, the privately-owned UK firm behind the children’s-focused snack brand Bear, said last year it was looking at ways to expand internationally and suggested it could accept investment. Just before last Christmas, the company, set up in 2007, announced it had agreed to a takeover bid from Belgium’s Lotus Bakeries. In an interview published in the first week of January, Dean Best spoke to Urban Fresh Foods partner Giles Brook about what the deal meant for the business.

Mars tries to adapt to grow confectionery sales in US

The US food industry is facing some significant challenges, from rising concern over health and wellness, to the growing awareness among consumers of sourcing and supply chain issues and to new consumption patterns. In September, Katy Askew spoke to Tracey Massey, president of Mars Inc’s Mars Chocolate North America division, and Casey Keller, president of its Wrigley North America confectionery division, to find out how the company is responding.

Wessanen’s plans to grow Mrs Crimble’s

This summer, European natural and organic food group Wessanen entered into an agreement to acquire UK gluten-free baker Mrs Crimble’s last week. Patrick Cairns, CEO of Wessanen’s UK arm, talked to just-food about the group’s plans to accelerate growth at the business.

Arla Foods CFO Natalie Knight weighs prospects for dairy group – the just-food interview, part two

At the start of the year, 2016 looked set to be another challenging one for the dairy sector, amid concerns over the momentum of economies in emerging markets and commodity prices remaining in the doldrums. In February Natalie Knight, the CFO of European dairy giant Arla Foods, talked to Dean Best about the co-operative’s outlook and insists there are opportunities for growth.

Richelieu Foods CEO Tim O’Connor eyes growth in pizza and pourables

Richelieu Foods, the US private-label supplier backed by private-equity, this year announced it was expanding production with a new plant to support its growth. In February, Dean Best spoke to Tim O’Connor, the president and CEO of the pizza-to-dressings manufacturer, to discuss the group’s plans and how he sees the company’s categories developing.

What potential does India offer food exporters?

The Indian food sector presents exporters with a potentially significant medium- to long-term opportunity. The size of the country’s population – around 1.2bn – and an expanding middle class are driving growth in demand. In February, just-food spoke to international export associations to find out the potential and pitfalls awaiting companies that want to sell into this promising, yet challenging, market. 

How Barilla is at forefront of 3D printing tests

This spring, Italian food group Barilla showcased a prototype for a 3D printer for its core product – pasta. The company is among those in the packaged food sector working out how it could use advancements in 3D printing technology. In October, Brenda Dionisi talked to Barilla about its efforts so far and how it views the prospects for the technology.

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