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just-food's pick: Top ten on-trend products at Natural Products Expo East

19 September 2014 | Katy Askew

just-food's picks of products at the Natural Products Expo East that tap into the hot trends in US grocery.... read more

Editor's viewpoint: US health food in play - but could be pricey

11 September 2014 | Dean Best

General Mills' move for Annie's has further fuelled the belief US natural and organic food companies, including Hain Celestial and WhiteWave Foods, could become takeover targets for mainstream groups searching for growth. But the price General Mills has agreed to pay for Annie's also underlines such deals would likely be expensive.... read more

Comment: Kingsmill "youth" appeal bodes well for ABF

10 September 2014 | Katy Askew

In the UK branded bakery space, Associated British Foods-owned Kingsmill has youth appeal. The brand, which is operated by ABF's bakery unit Allied Bakeries, over-indexes with consumers under the age of 35. As long as Kingsmill can maintain its relevance, this bodes well for its long-term health, Katy Askew suggests.... read more

Consuming issues: Elliott puts FSA back in the spotlight

8 September 2014 | Ben Cooper

Amid the headlines about the UK's plan to set up a food crime unit, Professor Chris Elliott's full report into the UK supply chain has reignited what was a fierce debate - the role of the Food Standards Agency, writes Ben Cooper.... read more

Editor's viewpoint: Do not expect huge change at Danone

4 September 2014 | Dean Best

Looking at Danone's share price yesterday, one is left with the impression there is an expectation of changes at the French food group now Frank Riboud is to step down as CEO. However, those expecting wholesale change at Danone should perhaps not be so hasty. The executive moves at the top of the yoghurt maker suggest Riboud will still be central to the company's overall strategy.... read more

Comment: Competition to rise as dairies invest in whey production

1 September 2014 | Katy Askew

Arla Foods is wise to invest in its whey protein production capacity. However, the company is far from alone in pursuing this strategy, with various dairy firms stepping up production to meet growing global demand. As activity increases so too could competition, Katy Askew suggests.... read more

Consuming issues: The hunger-obesity paradox

26 August 2014 | Ben Cooper

It may seem cruelly ironic the UK faces what is frequently dubbed an "obesity epidemic" while hospital admissions for malnutrition have risen by 19% over the past year. Ironic perhaps, but not surprising. Ben Cooper argues food education and cooking skills would be a simple measure to tackle the issue.... read more

Comment: Holistic approach to obesity issue needed

19 August 2014 | Katy Askew

The Institute of Economic Affairs, a UK think tank, raised an important issue yesterday (18 August) when it insisted a decline in physical activity is the "root cause" of the obesity epidemic. The IEA research aims to debunk the widespread belief that our widening girths can largely be attributed to calorie consumption. However, while lifestyle factors are central to the obesity issue, Katy Askew suggests that a holistic approach - in which the food industry plays a central role - is needed to combat the problem.... read more

M&A Watch: Why Raisio should sell to private equity

14 August 2014 | Stefan Kirk, M&A advisors Glenboden

Raisio, the Finland-based group behind brands including Benecol, Honey Monster cereals and Fox's confectionery, has, in recent years, tried to grow via M&A. However, Stefan Kirk of M&A advisors Glenboden questions the company's strategy and believes it should be sold to a private-equity firm to unlock value.... read more

Comment: Definitive action needed if poultry industry to win consumer confidence

6 August 2014 | Katy Askew

The UK's Food Standards Agency has issued the results of its first set of quarterly campylobacter tests, part of a year-long study into the prevalence of the bacteria in the UK poultry supply. The results reveal that around three-fifths of chicken sold in UK supermarkets are contaminated with the bacteria and the regulator has conceded that more must be done to win over consumer trust. After a personal brush with the issue, having found offal in pre-packed supermarket chicken, Katy Askew would strongly concur.... read more

Editor's viewpoint: Land of the minnows

4 August 2014 | Dean Best

Size matters, right? Scale - and the economic benefits that come with it - provide a business with clout smaller competitors find hard to battle. However, could large food companies be losing some of the advantage gained from their size?... read more

Shopper trends: The World Cup - a victory for retailers?

25 July 2014 | Tim Eales, IRI

Now that the football World Cup has come and gone, Tim Eales, director of strategic insight at IRI, examines whether it provided a much-needed boost to UK retailers and food manufacturers, or if England’s early demise meant they lost out too.... read more

Comment: Danone could be preparing strategic shake-up

24 July 2014 | Katy Askew

The spotlight will turn on Danone's strategy to grow its sales and profits tomorrow (25 July) when the group reports its second-quarter results. With what looks set to be a disappointing first half in store, questions could well be asked about whether Danone is on the path to long-term sustainable growth, Katy Askew suggests.... read more

Editor's viewpoint: Why whole sector should take heed of UK, China meat allegations

24 July 2014 | Dean Best

The meat supply chain is in the spotlight this week, with allegations in the UK and China of poor and potentially unsafe practices at firms supplying retail and foodservice giants including Tesco and McDonald's. But the entire industry needs to pay attention: consumer interest in what they eat is at its highest-ever level.... read more

Comment: ConAgra's TaiMei buy fails to address core problems

17 July 2014 | Katy Askew

ConAgra Foods believes its latest acquisition - Chinese potato group TaiMei - will help further unlock the growth potential in its Lamb Weston unit. However, the move fails to address the issues dogging ConAgra's private-label and branded businesses and will do little to boost results in the near-term, Katy Askew suggests.... read more

Consuming issues: No candy-coated arguments at sugar summit

14 July 2014 | Ben Cooper

Last week, medical professionals, industry representatives, policy advisors and others gathered in London to discuss the health impacts of sugar consumption and what government and food companies can do to mitigate them. Ben Cooper was there.... read more

Comment: Unilever's Slim-Fast sale evidence of declining diet category

11 July 2014 | Katy Askew

Unilever announced late yesterday (10 July) that it has sold its Slim-Fast diet foods business as it trims the fat from its food portfolio. The news comes as further evidence of the overall decline in the weight management foods sector in markets like the US and UK, Katy Askew suggests.... read more

Comment: Trade restrictions hitting Russian outlook

9 July 2014 | Katy Askew

In a period of escalating international tensions, Russia is turning to the use of trade restrictions as a political weapon. This adds a layer of risk to food manufacturers exporting goods to the previously promising BRIC market and potentially has some profound consequences for the consumer outlook in the country, Katy Askew suggests.... read more

Editor's viewpoint: Dairy Crest's appeal may grow after deals

3 July 2014 | Dean Best

Strategically, Dairy Crest's deals with fellow UK dairy group Fayrefield Foods and New Zealand dairy giant Fonterra to serve the global infant formula market are astute moves. But the deals could also catch the eye of some of the world's larger dairy processors about Dairy Crest's new capabilities.... read more

Comment: Kroger eyes two growing trends with Vitacost deal

2 July 2014 | Dean Best

US retail giant Kroger, one of the largest traditional supermarket chains in the country, today (2 July) announced a deal that showed it has recognised two key macro trends in the grocery sector - and wants a piece of the action.... read more

Shopper trends: Industry must rethink promo strategy

2 July 2014 | Tim Eales, IRI

Across Europe, the level of promotions in grocery stores continued to increase in 2013 - but without boosting sales volumes. IRI's Tim Eales says the sector needs to review how they promote in order to drive sales.... read more

Editor's viewpoint: Nestle deserves praise for living wage

30 June 2014 | Dean Best

Cynics will scoff a company the size of Nestle can easily afford to become a "Living Wage" employer in the UK. And perhaps there would be an element of truth in that. But the fact the world's largest food maker is willing to invest in its staff should be applauded - and the hope is some of its closest competitors - companies with vast resources of their own - will follow.... read more

Consuming issues: Oxfam as industry's "critical friend"

30 June 2014 | Ben Cooper

Oxfam's latest analysis of the food industry's efforts on to tackle climate change demonstrates how the NGO can partner with industry at time but still play a role in handing out stinging criticism where necessary, Ben Cooper believes.... read more

Editor's viewpoint: Big year ahead for ConAgra

27 June 2014 | Dean Best

After a tough year, which included three profit warnings, ConAgra Foods and its management team face a very important 12 months. The US group's management believe it can improve the performance of both its consumer food and private-label arms but some industry watchers are less certain.... read more

Editor's viewpoint: Domestic challenge for General Mills

26 June 2014 | Dean Best

General Mills chief Ken Powell did his best yesterday (25 June) to be positive despite a surprise fall in sales in the US food giant's fourth quarter rounding off a challenging year for the company. Powell insisted General Mills had plenty of ways to revitalise its top line but the Cheerios and Yoplait owner faces another challenging year.... read more

Comment: Sugar reduction pledge, not tax, could interest regulators

25 June 2014 | Ben Cooper

A tax on sugar has again hit the headlines in recent days, with a call from campaign group Action on Sugar and, significantly, after a key expert on obesity said new policies should be looked at. However, Ben Cooper says evidence sin taxes work is sketchy, although he argues Action on Sugar's separate call for an industry pledge to lower sugar could interest regulators.... read more

Editor's viewpoint: Questions mount for ConAgra

19 June 2014 | Dean Best

After three profit warnings in a year, it is little wonder the performance of US food giant ConAgra Foods is under scrutiny.... read more

Editor's viewpoint: Premier feeling the pressure

18 June 2014 | Dean Best

The City has welcomed Premier Foods' moves to spin off parts of its businesses into joint ventures but it is still the performance of the UK group's core brands that moves its shares - and that concerns investors.... read more

Comment: Increased competition could revitalise US frozen sector

18 June 2014 | Katy Askew

Sales in the frozen aisle have been lacklustre in the US for some years. However, increased competitive activity from the likes of Nestle, ConAgra Foods and Tyson Foods could help rejuvenate the sector, Katy Askew suggests.... read more

Industry view: CPG futures online - beware the drones

2 June 2014 | John Lawrence, business development director, SGK Europe

With CPG sales migrating online, innovative delivery methods being developed by the likes of Amazon will have profound implications for food manufacturers, SGK Europe's John Lawrence suggests.... read more

Comment: US food sector consolidation sees raising valuations

2 June 2014 | Katy Askew

The dramatic M&A battle being played out in the US protein space comes as fresh evidence that food companies are willing to pay top-dollar for quality businesses in a consolidating sector.... read more

Comment: Industry must tackle organic supply constraints

30 May 2014 | Katy Askew

Rising demand for the products you manufacture is a good thing, right? Not necessarily - as the annual results of US natural and organic food manufacturer Annie's have demonstrated, Katy Askew writes.... read more

Editor's viewpoint: Seeing the value in being lean

29 May 2014 | Dean Best

With the bidding war for Hillshire Brands intensifying, it is pertinent to point out just how correct Sara Lee's management - and those on Wall Street that supported the split - were about the shareholder benefits of separating the old business.... read more

Consuming issues: Why understanding food wastage is vital

28 May 2014 | Ben Cooper

The considerable attention given to the topic of food wastage over the past couple of years has ensured the issue has grown both in public awareness and also as a priority for companies and policymakers seeking to make the global food system more sustainable. ... read more

Comment: Multinationals face local challenge in BRICs

27 May 2014 | Katy Askew

Food companies in developed markets are increasingly looking to cash in on the potential offered by high-growth emerging markets. But as data published by just-food in partnership with Kantar Worldpanel suggests, multinationals are coming up against some stiff local competition.... read more