2015 was another year of insightful interviews with a wide range of senior executives in the international food sector. Here we present the most-read interviews on just-food this year. Click on the headlines for more.
R&R Ice Cream is the second-largest ice cream manufacturer in Europe by sales, behind only Unilever. But the UK-based business’s CEO, Ibrahim Najafi, promoted to the top job at the company 18 months ago, has his sights on expansion further afield.
In early 2012, Bonduelle struck three deals in eight weeks, acquiring businesses in Russia, Hungary and the US. Aside from snapping up a plant in Canada from local retailer Sobeys in 2014, the French vegetables giant has kept its powder dry, instead integrating the trio of assets it bought three years ago. In part two of the just-food interview, CFO Gregory Sanson says Bonduelle is ready for more deals, reflects on missing out on Green Giant and explains where the group is looking to pounce.
Canada’s Garden Protein International – the company behind the meat-free brand Gardein – has enjoyed rapid growth and is hoping for more of the same under the ownership of US giant Pinnacle Foods, which bought the business last year. Yves Potvin, the founder and president of the Vancouver-based firm, has stayed on with Pinnacle and he spoke to Dean Best about expansion, competition and the outlook for the meat alternatives category.
When unveiling its new name and corporate identity last week, seafood giant Thai Union Group placed sustainability at the heart of its agenda. Following her appointment as the company’s group director of sustainable development, Dr Darian McBain spoke with Ben Cooper about Thai Union’s approach to sustainability and aspirations for the future.
Sales volumes are rising in the UK liquid milk category but value has been squeezed as retailers zone in on price. Four pints of milk for GBP1 has become the norm in a category dominated by own label. In an effort to build value in the UK liquid milk sector, Muller Wiseman Dairies plans to develop its own milk brand. Katy Askew spoke to Rebecca Oliver-Mooney, Muller Wiseman’s category and marketing controller, on the sidelines of the Canadean dairy innovation summit to find out more.
CSM Bakery Solutions came to life two years ago when Rhône Capital acquired the bakery supplies business of Dutch food and ingredients group CSM. At the time, Rhône Capital said it would invest in CSM’s capacity to innovate and use its customer relationships to support global growth. Katy Askew spoke to CSM vice president of bakery products, Sebastian Siethoff, to find out more.
After an up-and-down decade, Dutch food group Wessanen has completed its efforts to become a pure-play foods group focusing on Europe and on what it calls “natural and healthy” categories. In the first part of a two-part interview, Wessanen CFO Ronald Merckx discusses the company’s transformation.
US frozen entree-to-broth maker American Halal Co. recently made its first acquisition, snapping up local lentil snacks business Mediterranean Snacks. The firm is hoping to deliver around US$$30m in sales for fiscal ’15, and in the next three-to-five years, CEO Adnan Durrani is eyeing sales of between $70-100m. Here he talks to Hannah Abdulla about how the company’s focus on antibiotic-free, non-GMO and organic foods will win points with the millennial consumer and help achieve that goal.
Alfred Ritter, the German chocolate maker, is grappling with rising costs for some of its core commodities at a time when pricing in its largest markets is coming under pressure. While the family-owned company does not provide details on its profitability, the implications for the group’s margins are obvious. Ritter is looking at ways it can make its supply chain more “independent” to counterbalance the input challenges in the longer term while balancing the immediate need to retain margin. Chairman Andreas Ronken reveals more.
Norwegian mum of five Nasim Rizvi launched Nasims Halal Baby Food two years ago out of a frustration from a lack of halal baby food products on the market. The brand’s first market has been the UK, targeting the larger Muslim population across the North Sea. Rizvi talks to just-food about why halal baby food is a big growth opportunity, particularly in the UK, France and Germany at present.