UK-based R&R Ice Cream last week snapped up local rival Fredericks Dairies, a deal its CEO told us will help it compete better with Unilever. We spoke to M&A analysts about the potential sale of Burton’s Biscuit Co. and to the chairman of Canada’s Dare Foods about his expansion plans. In Europe, the sector was rocked by fresh horsemeat revelations, including news an Asda product contained the veterinary drug phenylbutazone.

“It will benefit consumers as it gives the supermarkets a real alternative to Unilever. There is no question that Unilever is very, very dominant” – R&R Ice Cream chief James Lambert talks to just-food about the UK firm’s acquisition of local rival Fredericks Dairies.

“We are in a period of exclusivity while some due diligence is taking place with one buyer” – Lambert tells us R&R’s majority owner is in exclusive talks to sell its 82% stake in the business. A deal could be “a month away” he said.

“I know our customers will be just as concerned about this news as we are. Even at such a low level, it is totally unacceptable” – Ade McKeon, the Asda director responsible for own-label quality, following the UK retailer’s admission a corned beef own-label line contained the veterinary drug phenylbutazone, or bute.

“I’m afraid to be found immodest, but for the first time over the last 15 years after opening of the first store we have become the leader in the food retail sector by sales” – Sergey Galitsky, CEO of Russian retailer Magnit, claims the company has usurped X5 Retail Group as the country’s largest grocer by sales.

“His combination of experience, leadership skills and broad understanding of the food industry make him the ideal leader to drive the next chapter in Heinz’s storied history” – Alex Behring, MD of 3G Capital, explains why the private-equity firm has appointed Bernardo Hees as CEO of Heinz, which the buyout house is set to buy.

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“Since its LBO in 2009, has anything changed in the biscuits landscape to suggest there’s now a strategic player out there willing to spend, illustratively, EUR400m (US$520.5m) on a branded biscuits asset in Europe?” Stefan Kirk, of M&A advisers Glenboden, is sceptical about there being significant trade interest in UK firm Burton’s Biscuit Co.

“I don’t think the intent would be to go out and buy 100% of a business. We would consider partnering with groups because we don’t have that global expertise. We need to identify groups that have global expertise and global distribution” – Bill Farrell, chairman of Canada’s Dare Foods, sees tie-ups as a way of boosting its presence overseas.

“Twenty-two million customers visit our stores and websites every week and over 70% of those transactions are through Nectar. This is and will remain the most powerful point of interaction with our customers” – Luke Jensen, developmet director at Sainsbury’s, says its Nectar loyalty scheme will be key to the UK retailer’s multichannel ambitions.

“For me, 2013 is very much integration and implementation time” – Barry Callebaut CEO Juergen Steinemann says the chocolate giant’s focus is on recent deals in the months ahead.

“This is a ground-breaking agreement for the Australian dairy industry and the most significant investment in new processing facilities since the industry was deregulated in 2000” – Murray Goulburn MD Gary Helou after the Australian co-op was one of two suppliers to secure deals to supply Coles.