At a time of economic uncertainty – when our pages can sometimes make for gloomy reading – the confectionery sector was given cause for optimism last week, when two studies suggested that certain key markets could be “recession resistant”. This message was reinforced when Green & Black’s managing director Dominic Lowe told just-food of the group’s plans to expand in the German market and Barry Callebaut said that it expects to see growth continuing apace in developed, as well as developing, markets. In M&A news, LDC said that it has entered into exclusive talks with Uniq over the acquisition of Marie, while Olam International snapped up bankrupt US tomato processor SK Foods. Here are this week’s ten most popular stories.

UK: Gü looks for “Innocent-style” investment
The owner of UK desserts firm Gü is looking for investment in the business similar to that secured earlier this year by Innocent Drinks from Coca-Cola Co., just-food understands.

GERMANY/UK: Disgraced Lidl Germany boss “given UK top job”
The former head of Lidl’s German business, Frank-Michael Mros, has reportedly been appointed to head the discount retailer’s UK business.

US: Chocolate recession resistant – study
Chocolate and candy remains recession resistant, according to research by the National Confectioners Association’s (NCA).

US: Kraft appoints North American boss
Kraft Foods has appointed Anthony Vernon as president of its operations in North America.

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By GlobalData

CHINA: Confectionery sales to climb 7% in ’09 – study
Confectionery sales in China are forecast to rise by more than 7% this year with demand, even for high-end products, staying robust despite slowing economic growth.

UPDATE: SWITZ: Barry Callebaut sees “continuing growth” in developed markets
Swiss chocolate group Barry Callebaut told just-food today (25 June) that it expects to see continuing growth from its businesses in the developed markets of Western Europe and the US, despite stable or declining chocolate consumption.

UK: Green & Black’s targets Germany for launch
Premium confectioner Green & Black’s said it will launch its chocolate brand in Germany this August.

FRANCE: LDC in exclusive talks for Uniq unit
French poultry group LDC has entered into exclusive talks to acquire Marie, the French chilled and frozen prepared food business of Uniq.

CHINA: Olam International to purchase SK Foods
Singapore-based Olam International has signed an agreement to purchase the assets of US-based tomato processor SK Foods.

US: ConAgra hails “significant progress” in consumer foods
ConAgra Foods emphasised the “significant progress” of its consumer foods business as it delivered a 5.1% jump in full-year net income today (25 June).