This week, Chiquita Brands International was in the limelight as it received an unsolicited takeover bid from Brazilian juice maker Cutrale Group. Elsewhere, ConAgra Foods announced the closure of two popcorn factories in Ohio, and Campbell Soup Co.’s Plum Baby business announced its exit from the UK. just-food’s management briefing series took a trip to Japan to see how food companies can succeed in a low-growth market.

“The  board’s decision is a continuation of its track record of shareholder value destruction. Accordingly, the Cutrale Group and the Safra Group are considering all alternatives to provide shareholders with the opportunity to send a clear message to the Chiquita board that they should enter into discussions regarding the Cutrale-Safra proposal” – Brazilian juice maker Cutrale and investment firm Safra slam Chiquita’s decision to reject their takeover bid.

“While Plum UK has faced some challenges, it has also recently made progress but not at the speed or scale necessary to support a long-term, sustainable business” –US baby food firm Plum PBC, owned by Campbell Soup Co., announces the decision to withdraw operations in the UK.

“We have low asset use in the plant and redundant operations, which negatively impacts the efficiency of our supply chain network. Closing the Marion and Morral facilities is part of our efforts to optimise the company’s supply chain” – A spokesperson for ConAgra Foods announces the closure of two popcorn making facilities in Ohio.

Valio will be hit by far the hardest of all companies in Finland by Russia’s import restrictions. Undertakings are to commence on the adaptation of the number of employees to the decreasing production volumes” – Finnish dairy group Valio announces jobs will likely have to go in the wake of the Russia embargo.

“We cannot expect to export all our US brands into a foreign market and succeed, especially not in Japan with its rich food heritage and people with discerning taste for high quality” – Bela Schweiger, vice president for General Mills’ Haagen-Dazs division in Japan, discusses the challenges of breaking into the Japanese food sector as part of our focus on Japan this month.

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“Anytime you have a major competitor come back in the market like Hostess Cake, there’s going to be an impact” – Flowers Foods CEO Allen Shiver addresses the impact the Hostess Cake return to market had on the bakery firm’s half-yearly results.

Kellogg‘s new commitments add momentum to calls on governments and the wider food and agriculture industry to recognise that climate change is real, it’s happening now, and we need to tackle it” – Oxfam’s Behind the Brands campaign manager Monique van Zijl praises Kellogg’s latest announcement to further cut greenhouse gas emissions from its supply chain.

“Raisio’s weak business profile is largely the result of its M&A activity. The strategy since 2009 has been to exit from mature businesses, where gains can be made on their sale, and re-invest the money in healthy snacking of other grain-based consumer foods categories” – Stefan Kirk of M&A advisors Glenboden, suggests Raisio should consider its sale to private equity.

“We do not believe there is any merit to this lawsuit. People associate The Aunt Jemima Brand with warmth, hospitality and comfort, and we stand by this heritage, as well as the ways in which we do business” – PepsiCo says the lawsuit filed against it over the Aunt Jemima brand, seeking US$2bn in royalties is without merit.

With our brands, and the strength of our innovation and pipefill we’ve got to come potentially and the level of investment the group is willing to put behind us, that seems achievable because you are talking about a relatively small scale,” – Jason Sutherland, sales director for Ferrero’s UK business, discusses aims to grab a 5-5.5% market share of the confectionery market over the next five years.