CAGNY, the annual conference where leading US food makers face Wall Street analysts, saw the likes of General Mills, ConAgra Foods and Heinz this week reflect on the trading challenges facing the industry. Elsewhere, Pfizer tried to cool fresh speculation around the sale of its baby food business, Kerry Group said it would slow its rate of acquisitions this year and there were rumours a French state fund was in talks to invest in poultry giant Groupe Doux.

CAGNY 2012: Food giants reflect on trading challenges
General Mills, Kraft Foods and PepsiCo are among the food manufacturers facing Wall Street analysts at the annual CAGNY conference in Florida last week.

UPDATE: US: Pfizer tries to cool baby food "speculation"
Pfizer has insisted claims it has allowed Mead Johnson and Danone to table a joint bid for its infant nutrition business is "speculation" and said no decision has been made over the future of the division.

On the money: Kerry to slow acquisition rate in 2012
Highly acquisitive Irish food and ingredients firm Kerry Group has indicated that it will ease off the throttle and reduce its level of takeover deals during 2012.

US: Margin fears hit Wal-Mart shares
Shares in Wal-Mart Stores fell today (21 February) after the retail giant admitted price cuts in the US had led to lower margins from its local operations in the last quarter of its financial year.

UPDATE: UK: Co-op confirms "hundreds" of lay-offs
UK retailer The Co-operative Group this afternoon (23 February) confirmed that it plans to cut hundreds of back-office roles in a bid to increase profits from its food business.

UK: Union blasts Morrisons over Fresh Del Monte closure
Union officials representing staff whose jobs face the axe at a Fresh Del Monte Produce site in the UK have struck out at the "immorality" of Morrisons, the site's largest customer.

FRANCE: State fund FSI coy over Doux "talks"
French state investment fund FSI has declined to comment on reports that it could could come to the aid of Groupe Doux, in taking a minority stake in the French poultry producer.

On the money: Grupo Bimbo pledges $780m capex investment
Mexican bakery giant Grupo Bimbo has said it will nearly double its capital expenditure this year to cut costs in the US and boost its international presence.

US: Dairy Farmers of America acquires Guida's Milk and Ice Cream
Dairy Farmers of America has acquired New England-based dairy group Guida's Milk and Ice Cream for an undisclosed sum.

The launch by Wal-Mart Stores of its Great For You icon is a positive move by the retailer to encourage consumers to choose healthier foods. However, Ben Cooper writes, the retailer has so far failed to commit to using the industry's new Facts Up Front nutritional label on its products.