The highly anticipated sale of Belgium soy business, Alpro, drew to a somewhat abrupt end this week, when it emerged that US dairy giant Dean Foods had struck a deal to acquire the unit from Vandemoortele. The news highlights the fact that food manufacturers and retailers are still investing in expansion, despite the global economic downturn. Further evidence of this came later in the week, when Nestlé unveiled its commitment to investment in Asia and Carrefour opened its first hypermarket in Russia. Emerging markets remain a vital plank of many an expansion strategy – and A.T. Kearney’s assessment of the top ten emerging markets also proved popular reading. Here are this week’s most read stories on just-food.

UK: Sainsbury’s to speed up expansion
Sainsbury’s, the UK’s third-largest grocer, said today (17 June) that it plans to launch a GBP445m (US$728.9m) fund-raising programme to accelerate its expansion in the UK.

US: PepsiCo names treasurer
Quaker-to-Doritos owner PepsiCo has named Tessa Hilado as senior vice president, finance and treasurer.

Top ten emerging markets – A.T. Kearney
According to the latest Global Retail Development Index from management consultants A.T. kearney, the economic downturn has made emerging markets increasingly relevant to global retailers.

UK: Tesco’s “solid” sales still behind rivals
Tesco chief executive Sir Terry Leahy this morning (16 June) hailed the UK retailer’s “solid start” to its financial year – but the company is still seeing sales lag behind rivals like Asda and Morrisons.

UPDATE: US: Dean eyes US soy food drive after Alpro buy
US dairy giant Dean Foods plans to boost the number of soy food products it sells in the US in the wake of its acquisition of Belgium’s Alpro, the company said today (15 June).

US: Folgers fires Smucker profits
US food group JM Smucker reported bumper fourth-quarter results today (18 June) on the back of last year’s acquisition of the coffee business Folgers.

UK: Cadbury confirms outlook
UK confectioner Cadbury restated its full-year sales and margins guidance this morning (18 June) ahead of the release of its first-half results.

RUSSIA: Carrefour opens first Russian hypermarket
French retail giant Carrefour opened its first hypermarket in Russia in the Filion shopping centre in Moscow today (18 June).

ASIA: Nestle plans ASEAN investment
Swiss food giant Nestlé has reaffirmed its commitment to growth in its south-east Asia, unveiling plans to invest CHF260m (US$238.4m) in the region during 2009.

UK: Finsbury buys bread maker Goswell
UK cake maker Finsbury Food Group has boosted its speciality bread stable with the acquisition of Goswell Enterprises for GBP2.2m (US$3.6m).