News that ConAgra Foods, General Mills and PepsiCo topped a US innovation poll caught your attention last week, when market researchers IRI released its latest New Product Pacesetters report.

The importance of innovation further hit home when just-food examined how food manufacturers are responding to the global economic downturn. Cutting costs can only achieve so much, it seems. As consumer spending constricts, food companies must give shoppers reasons to buy their products and brands. In bad times as in good, innovation remains key.

Northern Foods is one company who has responded to the increasing demand for ‘value‘  with new product launches at its chilled business. This, coupled with a strong marketing campaign, enabled the UK food maker to post a strong set of results. However, its move to reduce promotional activity at its frozen pizza business dented gains.

Sainsbury’s once again posted bumper sales growth, proving CEO Justin King’s claim that “when well-executed, the middle ground can be a great place to be”. While the results were received by general acclaim in the market, some analysts suggested that, with its overseas footprint and discounted share price, Tesco remains a better investment bet.

Here are the top stories on just-food this week:

How well do you really know your competitors?

Access the most comprehensive Company Profiles on the market, powered by GlobalData. Save hours of research. Gain competitive edge.

Company Profile – free sample

Thank you!

Your download email will arrive shortly

Not ready to buy yet? Download a free sample

We are confident about the unique quality of our Company Profiles. However, we want you to make the most beneficial decision for your business, so we offer a free sample that you can download by submitting the below form

By GlobalData
Visit our Privacy Policy for more information about our services, how we may use, process and share your personal data, including information of your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications. Our services are intended for corporate subscribers and you warrant that the email address submitted is your corporate email address.

US: ConAgra, PepsiCo top innovation poll
ConAgra Foods, General Mills and PepsiCo have launched some of the “most successful” new brands in the last year, according to the latest research from IRI.

Food industry grapples with the downturn
The global economic downturn has had a profound impact on the way companies operating in the food sector do business. Recession has brought with it myriad challenges – ranging from securing credit lines to rapidly changing consumption patterns. Even as food companies grapple with these, they must also remain attuned to the new opportunities being thrown up by the exceptional economic conditions.

UK: Sainsbury’s sales growth quickens in Q4
Sainsbury’s, the UK’s third-largest grocer, today (25 March) posted a 4.5% in annual revenues after seeing sales growth accelerate during the final quarter of its fiscal year.

UK: Tesco gets City nod over Sainsbury’s
Tesco received a boost from the financial community today (27 March) with some City analysts arguing the UK’s largest retailer is a more attractive investment than buoyant rival Sainsbury’s.

FRANCE: Auchan sees sales earnings growth
French retailer Auchan today (23 March) posted rising full-year earnings, driven by the company’s “brisk” pace of expansion, particularly in China and Eastern Europe, and better sales at its hypermarket business.

UK: FSA stands by protein cap in ad rules
The UK’s food watchdog today (25 March) ruled that a protein cap used in guidelines that determine which foods are advertised during children’s TV programmes should remain in place.

Irish food industry reels from economic pressures
Having contributed to and benefited from Ireland’s sustained economic growth, the country’s food industry is suffering acutely as a result of the downturn. Ben Cooper examines why the food sector in Ireland has proved more exposed than in other countries and what the industry is calling for the Government to do to mitigate the problems.

UK: Asda pushes suppliers for price cuts
Asda, the UK arm of Wal-Mart, has embarked on a fresh round of negotiations in a bid to get suppliers to drop their prices.

NZ: Fonterra sales rise on currency exchange
Fonterra, the world’s largest dairy exporter, has posted a rise in first-half sales on the back of the weakening New Zealand dollar.

UK: Northern appeals to budget shoppers
Northern Foods said today (26 March) that sales growth accelerated in its fourth-quarter, as chilled pizzas and discounted sandwiches appealed to the UK’s cash-strapped shoppers.