Innovation and reformulation, ongoing pressing concerns for manufacturers, have returned to the headlines in recent days, with two key conferences in the UK. Among retailers, SuperValu Inc and Carrefour issued their latest batch of results this week, receiving a somewhat mixed response. Here’s the best of what was said this week:

“That is a challenge for the business and, if I’m honest, we are really struggling. We still have a few years yet but it is taking every NPD resource that we have” – PepsiCo Europe nutrition director Sue Gatenby on the group’s ability to reach its reformulation targets.

“Consumers are getting more and more confused about the information they are given. This is a serious issue we’ve got to address” – Nic Wheater, technical and innovation director, Baxters Food Group on product innovation and reformulation.

“Fewer than a quarter of French consumers think brands are better than own label” – David Jago, director of innovation and insight, Mintel on innovation and consumer trends.

“The fact that one-third of the trial stores have not worked, raises the question of whether Planet can successfully be rolled out to the planned 500 stores” – Sanford Bernstein analyst Christopher Hogbin casts doubts on the potential success of Carrefour’s Planet stores.

“Operationally, [the] business remains highly challenged. The latest results at Supervalu are likely to feed into a growing (mis) perception that sector fundamentals are broadly improving. However, we see no basis to increase exposure to Supervalu at this time” – Ajay Jain, an analyst at Hapolaim Securities, outlines his concerns around Supervalu’s potential.

“Farmers will continue to suffer from the transfer of excessive risk and unexpected costs by grocery retailers along the supply chain. And we will continue to witness the adverse effect on investment and innovation down the supply chain, and ultimately the impact this has on consumers” – NFU vice president Gwyn Jones on the impact of the government’s delay on legislation to appoint a grocery ombudsman.

“Of course, it’s sad for the many colleagues who may lose their jobs but we hope that we’ll be able to maintain other jobs at Arla‘s dairies going forward. An added benefit is that we’ll be able to use Swedish milk more efficiently – for the benefit of both milk producers and consumer.” – Arla Foods executive vice president Jais Valeur on the group’s plans to close three dairies in Sweden.

“Although prices are elevated, I would suspect that over the past 25 years grocery prices have come down. One piece of data I have to support this is that Norwegian consumers today spend a much lower proportion of their disposable income on food compared to 15 years ago. While prices are still elevated, they haven’t kept up with salary price inflation” – Verdict analyst Neil Saunders on why having four consolidated operators might be best for the Norwegian retail sector.

“There has been no boom and bust effect as some of you may have feared as a result of the reset” – Danone CFO Pierre-Andre Terisse on the group’s continued growth in 2011.

Flowers Foods will be a key player in the future of the baking industry. We aren’t saying we are going to be the biggest, but we are saying we going to be the best” – Flowers Foods on its acquisition of Tasty Baking Co.