Once again, the issue of food safety reared its head in the US and once again, a nut maker is at the centre of the outbreak. The likes of PepsiCo, Kraft Foods and Kroger have pulled lines after the country’s second-largest pistachio maker announced a recall over salmonella fears. In Europe, Bakkavor booked a loss for 2008 and Cadbury announced plans to close a gum plant in Spain. And, in Asia, Heinz entered India’s cereal market. These are the top stories on just-food this week.

US: PepsiCo, Kraft, Kroger join pistachio recall
The recall of salmonella-contaminated pistachios has drawn in a number of other companies, with PepsiCo’s Frito-Lay, Kraft Foods and Kroger forced to issue consumer recalls.

ICELAND: Bakkavor swings to annual loss
Icelandic food company Bakkavör posted a loss of GBP154.2m (US$222m) in 2008, hurt by foreign currency loans, restructuring costs and a loss on the company’s Greencore investment.

SPAIN: Cadbury opens consultation on plant closure
Cadbury has started consultations with workers in Spain over a proposal to close its Trident chewing gum production facility in Barcelona.

NETHERLANDS: Wessanen issues profit warning
Dutch food group Wessanen today (3 April) warned that its first-quarter profits would be “significantly lower” than in 2008 due to competition in North America and Europe.

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INDIA: Heinz to enter Indian cereal market
Heinz India is set to enter the breakfast cereal market with Complain Nutria Bowl Muesli, a product to be launched in a phased manner starting within southern markets.

SWITZ: Callebaut CEO De Maeseneire to depart
Barry Callebaut CEO Patrick De Maeseneire is to leave the company after seven years at the top of the Swiss chocolate maker.

UK: Parkam acquires Freshway Foods
Privately-owned chilled meat producer Parkam Food Group has acquired UK sandwich maker Freshway Foods a matter of hours after it was placed into administration, just-food can reveal.

UK: Food inflation rumbles on – TNS
The weakness of sterling is continuing to drive rising food prices in the UK, industry analysts TNS Worldpanel said today (31 March).

US: Campbell launches innovation website
Campbell Soup Co. has launched the “Ideas for Innovation” programme in a bid to garner unsolicited innovations from outside the group.

just the answer – Anne Berlack, IRI
Publication of the annual IRI New Product Pacesetters Report is an eagerly-awaited event in the US food sector, the report being viewed as a useful barometer of the state of the market and current trends. Ben Cooper spoke with IRI consumer and shopper insights practice executive vice president Anne Berlack about this year’s findings and particularly the impact of the recession on new product development and consumer behaviour.