Tesco this week went some way to confound the critics – and inject a positive note into the doom and gloom enveloping the business community – with robust annual results and determination to press on with its US venture. Associated British Foods was another firm insisting its was making progress Stateside, while Nestle was upbeat after its first-quarter numbers. The Swiss food giant, meanwhile, has been touted as a possible buyer of soya brand Alpro, which remains on the block in Belgium. Elsewhere, Dutch firm Wessanen, admitted it was mulling leaving the US entirely. These are the top stories on just-food this week.

UPDATE: UK/US: Tesco to press on with US assault
Tesco chief executive Sir Terry Leahy today (21 April) insisted the UK retail giant would continue to expand in the US but admitted the downturn had held back its ambitions across the Atlantic.

UPDATE: UK: ABF making “huge” progress in North America
Associated British Foods said today (21 April) it was making “huge” progress in its North American business, despite booking a 7% fall in half-year profits on the back of costs linked to the sale and closure of two US units.

UPDATE: SWITZ: Nestlé to “meet and beat” challenges
Nestlé said that its global businesses are focused on “meeting and beating” the challenges it faces, as it reported a slowdown in sales growth for the first quarter today (22 April).

BELGIUM: Unilever, Nestle “eye Alpro”
Global food rivals Unilever and Nestle are reportedly among the remaining suitors for soya brand Alpro, which has been put up for sale by its Belgian owner.

NETHERLANDS: Wessanen ponders US exit
Dutch food group Wessanen said today (22 April) that it will start a review on whether to exit all North American businesses and focus on Europe in a bid to streamline its business.

US: Dollar weighs on flat PepsiCo profits
Food and beverage giant PepsiCo today (20 April) reported flat underlying profits for the first quarter of 2009 as the strength of the US dollar weighed on the group’s international results.

AUS: Wesfarmers’ Coles shows signs of improvement
Coal-to-groceries conglomerate Wesfarmers saw its Coles supermarket chain book an increase in third quarter sales today (21 April), showing signs of improvement from a five-year turnaround plan.

US: Ad push helps Hershey in Q1
Hershey today (23 April) booked higher first-quarter earnings as advertising campaigns helped boost sales of the US confectionery giant’s chocolate brands.

UPDATE: FRANCE: Carrefour Discount to “restore” pricing image
French retail giant Carrefour said it wants to restore its “deformed” image concerning prices with the launch of its widely-anticipated low-cost own label line.

FRANCE: LDC in takeover talks with Groupe Arrivé
French poultry group LDC has entered exclusive negotiations with smaller rival Groupe Arrivé over a proposed acquisition.