The downturn has dampened the market for dairy commodities but there are rumblings that prices are on the way back up. This week, we looked at the movement in dairy prices and there is not, as yet, widespread agreement that a recovery is on its way – which would sour Irish cheese giant Glanbia, where more cost cuts look likely to offset falling dairy revenues. The near-term future is also uncertain at US organic food maker Hain Celestial, despite the optimism of the company’s management. And, sticking with US organics, Wessanen, the owner of Tree of Life, told us that it had put the business on the block.

These were the top ten stories on just-food this week.

Uncertain milk prices fuel debate
Some in the beleaguered dairy industry will have taken comfort from recent signs that milk and dairy prices on the global commodities market have started to pick up. However, the question of whether this is a short term fluctuation or the start of a longer-term recovery remains contentious. Katy Humphries reports.

INSIGHT: Glanbia to cut costs in ingredients business
Irish food group Glanbia is taking an “aggressive” look at its domestic commodity and processing business after the company’s half-year earnings dropped 28% on low dairy prices.

In the Spotlight – Hain Celestial
For a company with a significant portion of its business in organic food, it should come as little surprise that Hain Celestial, the maker of brands including Rice Dream and Linda McCartney, has fallen short of expectations over the last 12 months. The US food group insists it has the credentials to grow in the year ahead – but is its confidence justified? Dean Best reports.

US: Wessanen puts Tree of Life on the block
US natural and organic food group Tree of Life looks set to have a new owner by the end of the year after current Dutch parent Wessanen confirmed the business would be sold.

INSIGHT: Kerry CEO eyes India entry
The chief executive of Kerry Group hinted today (25 August) that the Ireland-based food maker is eyeing an entry into India as the business aims to expand in Asia.

INSIGHT: Lindt hopes brand assault will boost share
Lindt & Sprüngli is to plough “considerable” investment into marketing in key countries including France, Germany and the US, the chocolate maker told just-food today (25 August).

FRANCE: Carrefour sticks to dismal FY outlook
Carrefour, the world’s second-largest food retailer, today (28 August) stuck to its forecast of an up to 18% fall in annual profits after seeing half-year earnings slump.

ICELAND: Bakkavör returns to profitability in H1
Icelandic food group Bakkavör posted a return to profitability today (27 August) following a restructuring programme at the start of the year.

UK: Unilever coy over ambient ice cream plans
Unilever has remained coy over plans to develop an ice cream that is sold at room temperature to be frozen at home.

CHINA: Fonterra warns of slow dairy recovery
Fonterra, the world’s largest dairy exporter, has warned it will take up to 18 months before China’s dairy market enjoys a “significant” recovery from last year’s melamine scandal.