This week, Florida played host to the leading food manufacturers in the US as the likes of Kraft Foods, Kellogg and General Mills revealed how they see the outlook for the industry in 2009. There are black clouds on the economic horizon but the message from the Sunshine State was one of resilience. Elsewhere, Nestle, the world's largest food group, insisted it can thrive in the downturn with an increased focus on its value lines - not just in the emerging economies but also in developed markets. These were the top ten stories on just-food this week.


CAGNY: Kraft chief upbeat on private label
Kraft Foods chairman and CEO Irene Rosenfeld today (17 February) insisted that its rivals are being more affected by the rise in demand for private-label products in the US.

CAGNY: Kellogg eyes US$1bn cost savings
US cereal giant Kellogg has launched an aggressive programme to drive efficiency gains by cutting manufacturing costs, centralising procurement and increasing overhead discipline.

(For the latest news and views from the CAGNY conference in Florida, featuring the likes of PepsiCo, ConAgra Foods and Unilever, please visit our Hot Topic pages).

SWITZ: Trading down can benefit us - Nestle CEO
Nestle can capitalise on weakening consumer sentiment in developed markets by pushing the sale of its cut-price "popularly positioned products", the CEO of the Swiss food giant has claimed.

UK: Thorntons profits hit by price cuts
UK confectioner Thorntons has reported a 39% fall in half-year profits as tough high street shopping patterns forced the retailer to cut prices.

US: Jobs to go in Smithfield pork shake-up
US meat group Smithfield Foods is to revamp its pork processing operations with a series of moves including the closure of six plants and the possible loss of almost 1,800 jobs.

US: Wal-Mart sales growth slows in Q4
Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer, revealed today (17 February) that sales gains slowed during its fourth quarter as consumer spending dropped in the face of the global economic downturn.

US: Wal-Mart to "revamp private-label goods"
US retailer Wal-Mart reportedly plans to revamp its private-label Great Value line of food next month.

The just-food interview - Wu Jianzhong, Wumart Stores
In this month's just-food interview, Wu Jianzhong, chairman of Wumart Stores, one of China's leading home-grown retailers, insists his company can stand up to the might of Wal-Mart and Carrefour.

BRAZIL/US: JBS walks away from National Beef buy
Brazil's JBS, the world's largest beef firm, has abandoned plans to buy National Beef packing Co., the fourth-largest beef processor in the US.

UK: Dairy survival plan to secure milk supply
The National Farmers' Union (NFU) has launched a survival plan for dairy producers to help secure long-term future milk supplies for the UK.