Quote, unquote: just-food's week in words - Just Food
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Quote, unquote: just-food’s week in words

28 May 2013

Campbell Soup Co. became the third major multinational to invest in the buoyant organic baby food sector in a month with a deal to buy US firm Plum Organics. Danone is another of the three food giants to do business in organic baby food - and this week it continued its investment in faster-growing categories and markets with a fresh attempt to crack China's booming yoghurt sector.

Campbell Soup Co. became the third major multinational to invest in the buoyant organic baby food sector in a month with a deal to buy US firm Plum Organics. Danone is another of the three food giants to do business in organic baby food – and this week it continued its investment in faster-growing categories and markets with a fresh attempt to crack China’s booming yoghurt sector.

“It represents another step toward our long-term goal of shifting Campbell’s center of gravity” – Campbell Soup Co. president and CEO Denise Morrison after the US soup and snacks firm struck a deal to buy US organic baby food firm Plum Organics.

“The tie up makes sense. Danone gets access to Mengniu’s cold/chilled-chain distribution network instead of having to build it themselves, which would require a lot of time and investment. From what I have heard, Danone’s yogurt business’ footprint is still quite limited in terms of city-penetration” – Torsten Stocker, partner at Monitor Deloitte’s Greater China office, believes Danone was right to try again and team up with Mengniu Dairy on yoghurt in China.

“It’s significant that Hershey chose to launch its first new brand in three decades here in China. This demonstrates the company’s deep commitment to China, as well as the importance of this market in Hershey’s global growth plans” – Steven Schiller, senior vice president of Hershey’s global sweeets and refreshment, on the US confectioner’s launch of Chinese candy brand Lancaster, its first-ever overseas brand.

“Overall I’d plump for Kellogg; for them Tyrrells would add value to the Pringles portfolio” – Stefan Kirk, analyst at M&A advisers Glenboden, argues the US cereal giant is the front-runner in a race to buy UK crisp firm Tyrrells, which is said to be up for sale.

“We will continue to look at acquisitions. But we won’t overpay. Investing in our own businesses is just as important” – in a two-part interview with just-food, Dairy Crest CEO Mark Allen says the UK dairy firm is still on the look-out for deals but is not reliant on M&A for growth.

“The time-frames are irrelevant. We are delivering this plan, we’re delivering it very consistently. I’ve always said it’s a big job. It’s a difficult job to see through. I’m prepared for it because I like a job like that” – amid solid food sales and plans for further expansion of its convenience store estate, Marks and Spencer boss Marc Bolland faced questions over his future after the UK retailer booked lower annual profits.

“We think the ready meals categories in the UK is becoming less bad but it is still going to be difficult consumer environment. We are seeing a moderation in input costs which does help us a little in terms of our margin performance. If we take that all in aggregate we do remain confident to deliver EPS growth in line with market expectations” – Patrick Coveney, CEO of Greencore, which saw sales affected by the horsemeat contamination scandal, says the convenience food group believes it can still hit profit targets.

“We’ve made a significant commitment to sustainability as we use more cocoa beans in our Crunch brand than any of our other US confectionery brands,” Nestle is to use UTZ-certified cocoa beans in its “everyday” Nestle Crunch lines on sale in the US, although some limited-edition and seasonal items will still contain conventional beans.

“It’s not a question of refusing to have a meeting but simply a case of wanting to see the contract so we can have a useful substantive meeting” – Waitrose plays down claims from Ocado boss Tim Steiner that his requests for a meeting over the online specialist’s new venture with Morrisons had been turned down by the upmarket grocer’s MD Mark Price.

“PwC are looking at a range of options for the business. It’s not about a liquidity or administration issue. Discussions are ongoing” – a spokesperson for Bernard Matthews Farms on talks with PricewaterhouseCoopers over how to fund the UK poultry processor’s growth – which could lead to external investment.