The British Retail Consortium’s annual symposium brought together the great and the good of the UK retail scene. On the other side of the globe, retail was also a focus as debate over the relationship between Australian suppliers and the country’s powerful supermarkets continued. Food safety was back in the spotlight in China – a market that US spice maker McCormick & Co. is “bullish” on. Here is just-food’s week in words. 

“It’s a filtered traditional Greek yoghurt. It has absolutely a terrific taste profile, and we believe that will be very well received by consumers” – General Mills chairman and CEO Ken Powell touts the company’s revamped Yoplait Greek yoghurt, which it hopes will help revitalise its US yoghurt sales.

“Shonky claims on liquid breakfasts such as ‘high in fibre’, ‘fibre for digestive health’, and ‘goodness of three grains’ is a cause for concern” – a spokesperson for Australian consumer watchdog Choice hits out at the claims made on breakfast drinks

“Sanitarium Up & Go fibre content of 3.8 grams is well in excess of the Code of Practice requirement to enable a ‘high fibre’ content claim. If liquid breakfasts contained 20% fibre, as Choice proposes for a high fibre claim, there would be 50 gram of fibre per serve – which is almost double the recommended daily intake – and no doubt inedible” – Sanitarium nutrionist Michelle Reid questions Choice’s criticism.

“The message that we get from the leadership of the co-operative is that it’s not just about a proper return on the investments made” – FrieslandCampina CSR director Frank van Ooijen says the dairy giant has to behave “fully in line with expectations of stakeholders in the Netherlands”.

“Some people will always believe that the world is flat. Well, the world isn’t flat, and it’s getting hotter…We are going to have a perfect storm in 2030. We will need 30% more water, 30% more energy and 30% more food. It’s a gamble if you don’t do anything about that now” – Sir Stuart Rose, Ocado chairman and former M&S CEO, emphasises the challenge of climate change at the annual British Retail Consortium symposium. 

“There has been a significant amount of promotional activity in the past 12 months – not from ourselves. That is mortgaging your sales. Promotions should be on niche areas to try and bring people in. People are bored of the three-for-two promotions. It’s not a direction we believe is correct for the category. We think we should be promoting innovation and creating trial” – The Bart Ingredients Co. CEO David Collard on promotional strategy. 

“India is much more of a developing market for us than China is, and we’ve been in China for more than 20 years. India, right now, we have mainly a consumer business, along with a couple of joint ventures that are more ingredient-based. We have an established consumer business that will allow us the scale to start to build out an industrial business” – McCormick CEO Alan Wilson on expanding in India, a market that the US spice maker says it is “bullish” on

“As the leading player of the industry, Mengniu takes formulating the safety standard and building consumer trust as our genuine responsibility, and we have been devoting ourselves practically to do so. We believe a favourable image will come along with our continual endeavour for product safety,” Mengniu China Dairy Co. spokesperson on efforts to improve safety standards in Chinese infant formula production

“Price deflation is primarily being driven by two things: one is the chains’ relentless drive down the private-label route, which puts branded suppliers under pressure, as well [two] a distinct attack on specific categories and really taking the retail value out of some of those categories on the way through” – incoming Metcash CEO Ian Morrice says the wholesaler is the “champion” of brands

“The ability of the Australian food and grocery manufacturing industry to increase its competitiveness and win export opportunities will require a continued focus on cost containment and capacity rationalisation, greater collaboration with retailers to drive growth and share the benefits of supply chain efficiencies, and a rebalancing of trade spend to boost brand building and innovation” – Australian Food and Grocery Council CEO Gary Dawson looks to the future after a new report finds Australian supplier profits are below international rivals.