A selection of quotes from this year’s Consumer Analyst Group of New York conference.

“While this might not be where we want to be longer term, we believe it is a step in the right direction. We are innovating” – Andy Jones, VP of Kellogg’s businesses in central and eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa says the company is “making progress” in Europe where it has made “sequential improvements” in each of its four quarters in 2012.

“Clearly we’re handicapped because as you all know the birth rate in the US has fallen quite dramatically, albeit not in the Hispanic section, but in the US as a whole” – Nestle’s head of investor relations Roddy Child-Villiers says the company is eyeing a resurgence in infant nutrition.

“Focus on our core US business is a top priority and fundamental to our success. We see the US as an attractive growth market” – Hershey CEO John Bilbrey says it views the mature US confentionery market as a “growth opportunity”.

“We may occasionally choose to do a tuck-in acquisition, and we have talked about those in the past” – PepsiCo CFO Hugh Johnston said the company might consider M&A, but “tuck-in” deals as a way of ensuring developing markets continue to contribute to profit growth going forward.

“We remain focused on… strengthening our strong brands with leading innovation and marketing support” – Hillshire CEO Sean Connolly said the company is ramping up investment in innovation while “sharpening” marketing tools.

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“We have identified other categories in China that we’d like to participate in, either through acquisitions, joint ventures or importing some of our current product offerings” – JM Smucker CEO Richard Smucker said the company had earmarked other sectors in which to invest and was set to act.

“We know there are no silver bullets so we will continue to nurture our brands with product innovation” – Campbell CEO Denise Morrison talks about how the company will invest to develop new opportunities for expansion.

“Although our top-line growth was disappointing in the back half last year, the quality of underlying revenue and earnings growth provides strong momentum as we enter 2013” – Mondelez chief executive Irene Rosenefeld said she anticipates Mondelez will see sales come in at the lower end of its target range in 2013, with growth accelerating down the line.

“The expectations we have to grow the peanuts and nut butter businesses require us to further expand capacity in Lexington while adding a third facility” – JM Smucker director Mark Smucker said its plant in Lexington had been sufficient but the company needed more capacity if it is to meet its forecasts for growth in sales of nut butter products.

“We compete in great categories, we are increasing scale in developed and emerging markets, we see great scope for cost savings ahead” – Chris O’Leary, who leads General Mills’ international businesses, said its operations outside the US were well-positioned to drive sustained growth.

“The balance of consumer brands, private brands and commercial businesses provides strength in many different sectors and positions us for stronger growth with customers” – ConAgra Foods chief Gary Rodkin insists its mix of consumer brands, own label and B2B businesses offered the company “significant growth opportunities”.

“A big part of becoming really good at innovation has been facing the brutal facts and getting better. We were worst at innovation by almost any measure, qualitative, quantitative, outsider, insider, any way we looked at it” – Kraft’s VP for breakthrough innovation Barry Calpino admits Kraft has, in the past, not succeeded in innovating well.