Food prices – or the prospect of inflation – was a hot topic last week. A vote by the European Parliament to extend sugar quotas to 2020 was criticised, while proposed US changes to country-of-origin labelling were also argued to be set to lead to higher prices. Meanwhile, a drought in Spain is causing concern over global olive oil prices.

“We need a balanced, stable and fair EU sugar market, based on competitive, sustainable domestic production, supplemented by imports to the extent needed –Robert Guichard, president of the European Sugar Users Association, hits out at The European Parliament for voting to extend EU sugar quotas until 2020.

“Being as it is the world’s leading producer of olive oil, Spain’s performance has a significant impact on international production levels” – the International Olive Oil Council warns a drought in Spain is likely to push up global prices.

“The USDA’s proposal would impose significant, additional costs, yet it does not bring us into compliance with the World Trade Organization’s ruling” – Erik Lieberman, regulatory counsel for the Food Marketing Institute, hits out at the US government’s plans to change country-of-origin labelling rules.

“We have a right to expect better from the Irish food industry” – Simon Coveney, Ireland’s Agriculture Minister, reflects on his report that meat firm QK Meats knew beef was contaminated with horsemeat last year.

“We have experience in online and when we do go online [with grocery], it will be truly distinctive. From going to not having anything and going online in 24 months is very fast paced” – Morrisons CEO Dalton Philips talks up the UK grocer’s online plans.

“We met our top 30 suppliers last night. They welcome this. They are anxious to work with us” – Darcy Willson-Rymer, CEO of UK symbol retailer Costcutter, insists suppliers will welcome its venture with Palmer & Harvey, which will create a group with over 2,400 stores.

“The Internet is driving transparency. Retailers can’t hide. Transparency of our propositions are very clear” – Asda CEO Andy Clarke emphasises why businesses need to retain the trust of consumers amid a technological “revolution”.

“The pieces are largely in place for successful turnaround of this business. The restructuring has been executed quickly and efficiently, and key efficiency choices are paying dividends as we look to 2013 and beyond” – Chiquita Brands International CEO Ed Lonergan looks to the future with a confidence after a year of losses at the produce giant.

“We strongly believe that the European competition laws were not violated and we will appeal this decision to the EU Court of Justice” – Dole president and COO Michael Carter criticises a ruling that upheld a fine on the US produce group for alleged price-fixing.

“We’re still in the early stages of our journey” – Diamond Foods CEO Brian Driscoll was pleased with the progress he sees at the US snack firm but signalled the work that lies ahead.