Yes, it was Cadbury - again - that grabbed your attention this week - notably the UK firm's latest defence against Kraft Foods' hostile takeover and reports that Ferrero had abandoned plans for a counter bid. Deloitte published its annual global retail rankings, while Carrefour appointed a former Tesco executive to breathe fresh life into its French operations. The UK's plans for a supermarket ombudsman caused a fierce debate on this side of the pond, while in the US, proposals for cuts in salt levels ruffled some feathers. These are the top stories this week on just-food.

ITALY: Ferrero "pulls out" of Cadbury race
Ferrero has refused to be drawn on market reports that the company has decided not to bid for Cadbury.

UK: Don't let Kraft "steal" company - Cadbury
UK confectioner Cadbury this morning (12 January) stepped up its defence against Kraft Foods, telling shareholders it has enjoyed an "outstanding" year.

UK: Premier shares plummet despite optimism
Shares in Premier Foods plc, the UK's largest food group, slid by more than 7% this morning (14 January) despite the company insisting it had made "good progress" in 2009.

GLOBAL: Profits slide for global retailers - Deloitte
The world's largest 250 retailers saw their profits suffer through the economic crisis despite rising sales, according to the latest figures from Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu.

FRANCE: Former Tesco exec gets French Carrefour role
Carrefour has appointed an English executive from rival retailer Tesco to run its business in France.

UK: TNS issues upbeat outlook for UK grocery
The UK's major grocers saw a return to "confident consumer spending" over Christmas, industry analysts TNS said today (11 January), which pointed to a "positive outlook" for the sector.

UPDATE 2: UK: Ombudsman could cost consumers "millions" - BRC
A supermarket ombudsman could cost UK consumers "millions of pounds" in higher prices and hand negotiating power to the largest food makers, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) has warned.

US: Mizkan Americas acquires sauces company
Mizkan Americas, the US condiments maker, has acquired World Harbors Sauces & Marinades.

UPDATE: US: Food makers want "holistic" plan on heart disease
US food manufacturers said today (11 January) that they backed plans to cut the level of salt eaten by consumers - but said lowering the risk of heart disease needed more than targeting one nutrient.

CHINA: Bright Food approaches CSR over sugar deal
Shanghai's largest food company Bright Food has expressed an interest in buying the sugar business of CSR Ltd, with reports suggesting the Chinese group has offered up to US$1.4bn for the unit.