The Consumer Analyst Group of Europe conference dominated news this week with updates from Kraft Foods Group, Glanbia and Nestle. Elsewhere GM was back in the spotlight with the UK Prime Minister’s scientific advisers arguing the technology is safe. Also this week the political tensions in Russia and Ukraine saw Metro Group delay an IPO of its Russian cash-and-carry unit and Lidl announced the departure of chairman Karl-Heinz Holland. Here is the week in quotes.
“We’re facing an unprecedented confluence of factors that has the potential to change the way we operate for perhaps decades to come” – Kraft Foods Group CEO Teri List-Stoll tells the Consumer Analyst Group of Europe conference FMCG companies operating in the US need to adapt now to changes in incomes, the way they shop and the way they engage with brands.
“In a lot of geographies there isn’t one large incumbent, which actually in some ways makes it easier to come into the market with our Optimum Nutrition brand” – Glanbia MD Siobhán Talbot outlines plans to build global performance nutrition brands.
“The European Academies Science Advisory Council notes that, after over fifteen years of cultivation, there is no compelling evidence of any greater risk to humans, animals or the environment than that associated with conventional crops” – the debate for and against GM foods continued following the UK Prime Minister receiving a letter from his scientific advisers at the Council of Science and Technology arguing GM is a safe and important discovery.
“From what I understand, the sentiment [among some listed food companies] is very downbeat. We at Nestle do not feel that way. We are not arrogant – it is going to be a challenging environment – but that being said I think there are a lot of opportunities” – Nestle CFO Wan Ling Martello insists the world’s largest food manufacturer is optimistic about its prospects.
“Ultimately these steps position us for continued healthy, sustainable growth. We believe the actions we’re taking are necessary for the long-term health of our business” – PepsiCo announces the closure of its Dallas-based snack production facility and warehouse operation.
“Futurelife’s expertise in cereals and functional foods combined with Clover’s expertise in milk, dairy and nutrition make it a highly attractive investment proposition with good prospects” – Johann Vorster, CEO of South African dairy firm Clover Industries, says the joint venture between the dairy firm and Futurelife is a natural fit.
“We continue to pursue our plans for an IPO of Metro Cash & Carry Russia, but as always stressed this would require appropriate conditions in the capital markets” – Metro Group delays an IPO of its Russian Metro cash-and-carry unit amid the political crisis in the region.
“By leveraging the experience and relationships of both Goldman and Vestar, we are confident we can take the company to the next level of growth in the contract manufacturing industry” Rich Scalise, chairman and CEO of US contract food manufacturer Hearthside Foods Solutions comments on the acquisition of the firm by PE firms Goldman Sachs and Vestar Capital.
“Mr. Karl-Heinz Holland and Lidl have agreed to end their collaboration due to divergent and irreconcilable views on the future strategic direction of the business” – Lidl issues a statement announcing the departure of its chairman.
“There are lots of places to buy groceries today – clubs, dollar stores, drug stores, natural food specialists, hard discounters, Supercenters – that all weaken the basic grocery proposition” – Neil Stern, senior partner at retail consultants McMillanDoolittle joins the debate on why private-equity firm Cerberus Capital Management made a takeover bid for US grocery retailer Safeway Inc.