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Best bits: Home, overseas factors drive Bega bid for WCB

23 September 2013 | Dean Best

Competition among processors for milk supply in Australia, price pressure from retailers and Bega Cheese's desire for greater scale to compete internationally are the key reasons for its move for local peer Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Factory.... read more

Best bits: Morrisons calms City but tests lie ahead

16 September 2013 | Dean Best

After recent criticism in the City, Morrisons last week sought to soothe any anxiety among investors. Even as it reported lower half-year sales and profits, the UK retailer in some ways succeeded - its share price jumped - but the country's fourth-largest grocer still faces challenges within its core business and with its newer ventures in the convenience and online channels.... read more

Analysis: China key as NZ looks to rebuild dairy reputation

11 September 2013 | Katy Askew

The New Zealand government has provided details of how it plans to work hand-in-hand with industry help rebuild the reputation of the country's dairy exporters in the wake of the recent high-profile Fonterra recall. While much can be done to rebuild trust, the scandal comes as competition to build a safe raw milk supply is heating up in one key market - China. Katy Askew reports.... read more

Comment: Tesco's US misadventure has apt final chapter

11 September 2013 | Dean Best

After six years of losses, there will be a sense of relief that Tesco has secured a deal to exit the US. However, the agreement with Yucaipa provides a suitable closing chapter for the failed foray.... read more

Best bits: FMCG must adapt to slower BRICs growth

2 September 2013 | Dean Best

"The Great Deceleration" warned a front cover of The Economist in July, as the magazine reflected on a cooling in the BRIC markets. FMCG companies are upbeat about the long-term prospects of these economies but will have to adapt as period of slower growth.... read more

Comment: Finding growth spots in developed markets

27 August 2013 | Katy Askew

Operating in developed markets poses a particular challenge. Food manufacturers and retailers must look for pockets of growth in a sluggish landscape that is competitive to the point of saturation.... read more

Comment: Co-op should tread carefully in online push

23 August 2013 | Katy Askew

To much fanfare, The Co-operative Group confirmed that it will be the last of the "big five" UK retailers to throw its hat in the ring and enter the online channel. While the company is emphasising the growth potential offered by rapidly expanding online sales, Katy Askew suggests that the grocer will have to think outside the box if it is to combine an online offering with what remains its point of difference - convenience... read more

Shopper trends: Why you need to focus on in-store experience

22 August 2013 | Rod Street

With growth in the FMCG sector hard to come by, IRI strategic consultant Rod Street argues more companies must spend more time trying to improve a consumer's shopping experience.... read more

Consuming issues: Salmon industry CSR scheme should be welcomed

22 August 2013 | Ben Cooper

The Global Salmon Initiative (GSI), a joint commitment to raising sustainability standards signed by 15 major producers of farmed salmon, has been hailed as a game changer. Ben Cooper casts his eye over the new accord.... read more

Best bits: Another blow for NZ, the "Saudi Arabia of milk"

19 August 2013 | Dean Best

New Zealand, dubbed in some quarters as the Saudi Arabia of milk, has suffered another knock to its reputation, with another recall - this time over nitrate levels in ingredients headed for China. After the botulism scare surrounding Fonterra, this is another below for the country's dairy sector.... read more

Comment: Heinz's new owners make presence felt

14 August 2013 | Dean Best

Heinz has announced the first significant job cuts since the Warren Buffett / 3G Capital takeover only last year. Given 3G's track record with previous investments, the news the ketchup and soup company is "streamlining" its business should not be a huge surprise, writes Dean Best.... read more

Comment: European sale shows Campbell focus on faster growth

13 August 2013 | Dean Best

Campbell's talks to offload a clutch of European assets fits its recent strategy of focusing on more rapidly growing sectors and markets, writes Dean Best.... read more

Best bits: Tesco's face-saving plan for Chinese business

12 August 2013 | Dean Best

Nine years ago, Tesco first entered China and high hopes for its business there. After losses and falling sales, it is set to become a minority partner in a venture with China Resources Enterprise, evidence, Dean Best writes, of the UK retailer's failure in the market.... read more

Comment: Tesco, China Resources JV part of growing trend

9 August 2013 | Katy Askew

Confirmation that Tesco is in joint venture talks with China Resources Enterprise highlights a mounting trend in the FMCG sector. International companies eyeing growth in the rapidly expanding Chinese market are seeking out local joint venture partners. If Tesco's negotiations with CRE prove successful, a stronger business will emerge, Katy Askew suggests... read more

Best bits: Fonterra scare could help China's domestic formula sector

5 August 2013 | Dean Best

Safety concerns have again blighted the infant formula sector with Fonterra's recall of whey powder after fears over botulism. China has reacted, banning some imports from Fonterra and Dean Best writes the scare could prompt some consumers to question their belief foreign-made products are safer.... read more

Shopper trends: Define goals before embarking on promos

26 July 2013 | Tim Eales, IRI

Trade promotions don't seem to boost or sustain sales volumes in the way they used to, so manufactures and retailers need to think again about how they promote their wares.... read more

Comment: Wheels within wheels: PepsiCo, Mondelez and Peltz

23 July 2013 | Katy Askew

"Round like a circle in a spiral, like a wheel within a wheel. Never ending or beginning, on an ever spinning wheel." It is not often you get to quote Dusty Springfield lyrics as a business journalist. But this song plays through my head each time I think about the Peltz-PepsiCo-Mondelez rumours that are causing so much excitement.... read more

Best bits: Food security strategies need to focus on demand

22 July 2013 | Dean Best

The issue of food security has grabbed the headlines in the UK in the last 24 hours, with a flurry of announcements and stories that will provoke debate not just here but around the world.... read more

Comment: Nestle looks to leverage vast China potential

19 July 2013 | Katy Askew

"You see it. This region is just starting," Nestle group CEO Paul Bulcke said as we hurtled towards Beijing at almost 300 kilometres an hour, travelling on an express train linking China's major cities. Indeed I did.... read more

Comment: Nestle's China investment shows need to think local

15 July 2013 | Katy Askew

Success in emerging markets is dependent on the ability to think locally. However, while domestic players do have the home field advantage, multinational corporations benefit from stringent internal structures and expertise in areas such as supply chain management. Could the best way to drive growth be to combine the strengths of each, creating "multi-local" operations? Nestle would seem to think so.... read more

Consuming issues: Industry ignores WHO chief's attack on Big Food

12 July 2013 | Ben Cooper

The World Health Organization's combative director-general has publicly hit out at the "business interests" of what she calls "Big Food", which, she claims presents a "daunting challenge" to improving public health. As Ben Cooper reports, the food industry has chosen not to respond.... read more

Best bits: Asia drives more Europe dairy consolidation

5 July 2013 | Dean Best

The prospect of tapping growing demand for dairy in markets in Asia has driven another deal in Europe's dairy sector - this time a merger between two French processors, Sodiaal and 3A.... read more

Shopper trends: Co-operation needed for new paths to growth

3 July 2013 | Dan Finke, IRI

With volumes under pressure, manufacturers and retailers need to work together on promotion and pricing to make initiatives more effective and more likely to lead to growth, writes IRI UK MD Dan Finke.... read more

Comment: Determined General Mills facing stiff competition in US yoghurt

27 June 2013 | Katy Askew

General Mills, criticised over its US yoghurt business, is stepping up its activity in the sector, with an NPD drive in the next 12 months. However, the company faces rivals also on the front foot, writes Katy Askew.... read more

Comment: Breakfast drinks are no silver bullet

27 June 2013 | Katy Askew

As manufacturers look to revitalise a lacklustre cereal category and win back "breakfast skippers" in the US, they are focusing on convenient options such as breakfast drinks. However, could those preparing to compete in this burgeoning segment be embarking on a rocky road? Katy Askew argues breakfast drinks do not necessarily represent a silver bullet that the industry hopes will provide the US breakfast category with a shot in the arm.... read more

Best bits: UK, Australia highlight divisive nature of FOP label debate

24 June 2013 | Dean Best

Front-of-pack nutrition labels. It is a divisive subject that can turn those on both sides of the debate a nice shade of red.... read more

Consuming issues: UK reaches tipping-point on FOP labels

20 June 2013 | Ben Cooper

The debate over what form front-of-pack nutrition labels should take in the UK has taken a significant stride to being closed, with over 60% of the market agreeing to use a new label that does include traffic lights. Not every household name will use the label but Ben Cooper argues the refuseniks will now be firmly in the campaigners' firing line.... read more

Best bits: Nestle China boss espouses benefits of thinking local

17 June 2013 | Dean Best

To succeed in emerging markets, you have to think - and act - locally. That was the central message from just-food's interview with the boss of Nestle's business in Greater China, Roland Decorvet.... read more

Comment: "On the go" the new watchword in NPD

7 June 2013 | Katy Askew

It has been on the cards for years, but in the past few weeks it has really been hammered home: "on the go" consumption is having a significant impact on the food industry. It is shaping what, how, when and where we eat. While traditional eating patterns are being challenged, the shift presents a growth opportunity for food manufacturers.... read more

Comment: Amazon looks to take bigger bite of online grocery

6 June 2013 | Michelle Russell

Online retail giant Amazon is said to be preparing to take on the well-established US food market with a major roll-out of its fresh grocery business, a move that could make other players sit up and take notice.... read more

Best bits: Smithfield, McCormick keep China in the spotlight

3 June 2013 | Dean Best

Investment is flowing into and from the world's emerging markets, as two transactions involving US firms Smithfield Foods and McCormick & Co. highlighted last week.... read more

Shopper trends: Promo levels at tipping point

29 May 2013 | Tim Eales, IRI

The latest data from the just-food international basket, compiled by IRI, supports the notion promotional intensity is easing. IRI's Tim Eales says retailers are using offers less on own label and, more broadly, consumers are now less loyal to brands, meaning branded manufacturers are looking again at how to promote their products.... read more

Comment: French retailers battle over convenience, online

29 May 2013 | Katy Askew

The French food retail sector is notoriously competitive and hard to operate in. As the country's retail giants slug it out for a higher share of a relatively stagnant market, the battle is raging on all fronts. With low overall growth, retailers are zoning in on the areas of greatest potential: online and convenience.... read more

Consuming issues: Wasting away

24 May 2013 | Ben Cooper

The problem of food waste is due to the low value people in the West put on cheap food. And cheap food is a product, in part, of the modern, industrial food system. However, amid some scepticism, the industry is trying to act on the problem. Ben Cooper argues, ultimately, the dynamics of supply and demand will right the situation.... read more

Best bits: Danone steps up investment in future growth

20 May 2013 | Dean Best

In recent months, Danone has come under scrutiny for the performance of its fresh dairy operations in Europe. However, in spite of - or perhaps because of - the work needed to turn that business around, the French food giant appears to be stepping up expansion in faster-growing markets and categories.... read more