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Corporate responsibility

UK's dose of realism on Brexit will encourage food industry

22 August 2017 | Ben Cooper

The UK's position papers on its future customs arrangements with the EU and, more specifically, on the border with Ireland have seen London take a pragmatic stance on key issues, Ben Cooper writes, which will please the food sector.... read more

Investor interest in sustainability growing but still way to go

14 July 2017 | Ben Cooper

There are increasing signs more investors are becoming interested in the corporate sustainability practices of food companies, with some introducing the issue into the factors they weigh when deciding where to put their cash. However, as interest in corporate sustainability varies by company, so it does in the investment community, with some in the financial sphere seemingly little interested, proving the CEO advocates in the sector still have some convincing to do.... read more

UK election result raises food sector hopes of better Brexit - column

9 June 2017 | Ben Cooper

The result of the UK's General Election has stunned much of the country and many observers worldwide. The poll produced a hung parliament, with the Conservative Party, led by UK Prime Minister Theresa May, the largest in the House of Commons but without a majority of seats. May has embarked on talks with Democratic Unionist Party in a bid to form a minority government that can function with the working support of the Northern Ireland party. As Ben Cooper reports, the DUP's stance on Brexit, as well as the now improved standing of Labour, could lead to a softer Brexit that many food manufacturers would support.... read more

UK election result - all eyes on Northern Ireland as Brexit talks near

9 June 2017 | Dean Best

Cor Blimey! exclaimed one Labour-leaning UK tabloid this morning (9 June) as the country awoke to another election result that confounded pollsters.... read more

Paris climate partners resolute but US cash will be missed - column

5 June 2017 | Ben Cooper

Ben Cooper examines the implications of the US withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement.... read more

Brexit tension to be expected - opinion

2 May 2017 | Dave Leggett

Over the Bank Holiday weekend in the UK, the country's headlines were dominated about last week's meeting between Theresa May and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker - and how badly it was supposed to have gone. The UK has dismissed the reports as "Brussels gossip". However, David Leggett suggests we should expect the next two years to be tense.... read more

Kraft Heinz's Unilever approach shines light on investors and sustainability - column

17 March 2017 | Ravi Varghese, Ceres

One talking point that emerged from Kraft Heinz's approach for Unilever was the companies' approaches when it comes to corporate responsibility and sustainability. Unilever is seen as being in the vanguard of developing a sustainable business; Kraft Heinz, with its emphasis on cost control and margin improvement, less so. But how far do investors care? In a guest column, Ravi Varghese of US sustainability non-profit Ceres challenges mainstream investor thinking that sustainability is a drag on efficiency.... read more

Why Fairtrade can still be watchful partner for food companies

13 March 2017 | Ben Cooper

Mondelez International's decision to change the way it works with Fairtrade sparked questions about the future of the ethical certification. just-food contributing editor Ben Cooper argues Fairtrade still has a role to play for food companies looking to source more sustainably.... read more

US food industry hesitant amid Trump's dizzying pace - comment

31 January 2017 | Ben Cooper

Donald Trump's first 11 days in the White House has seen a series of executive orders and, while some have provoked a storm of global headlines, the US food industry is trying to digest what impact the new President could have on the sector. As Ben Cooper writes, so far, the US food industry has been reluctant to comment but that may soon have to change.... read more

Why Theresa May's Brexit comments give manufacturers reason for optimism

8 September 2016 | Ben Cooper

Amid the uncertainty following the UK vote to leave the EU on 23 June, British food companies and global food giants with UK sites will have been buoyed by a question at Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons yesterday (7 Sept) - and Theresa May’s response.... read more

Tyson Foods needs to grasp the nettle on plant-based protein - comment

1 September 2016 | Ben Cooper

The five shareholder resolutions filed by Tyson Foods investors last week seeking changes to environment, social and governance policies pertain to business risks for the US meat giant - and none more so than that on plant protein. Ben Cooper argues Tyson Foods needs to act now on the issue.... read more

Where does further delay leave the UK child obesity strategy?

26 July 2016 | Ben Cooper

Those waiting for the UK government's long-awaited child obesity strategy will have to wait a little longer. According to media reports last week, incoming prime minister Theresa May has decided to delay launching the Strategy until the autumn. ... read more

Are consumers getting tired of consuming?

26 April 2016 | Ben Cooper

Ben Cooper examines consumption itself and asks whether government statistics in the UK published earlier this year, coupled with observations by the head of sustainability at Ikea, signify slowing demand for consumer goods.... read more

Should the obesity issue influence companies' growth strategies?

4 April 2016 | Ben Cooper

United Biscuits, the UK's largest biscuit maker, has set out how it believes the sector in the country can grow sales by GBP500m by 2020. After hearing how the Yildiz Holding-owned business plans to increase the size of the category, Ben Cooper wonders whether the issue of rising obesity should inform how food manufacturers shape their drive for growth.... read more

Why Campbell's move on GMOs is savvy

14 January 2016 | Ben Cooper

The decision by Campbell Soup Co. to back nationwide mandatory labelling of the genetically modified ingredients in food on sale in the US, Ben Cooper writes, is more about the merits and importance of greater transparency than it is about the pros and cons of GM itself.... read more

The food industry’s vital role in realising COP21 vision

17 December 2015 | Ben Cooper

The COP21 agreement marks the start of a huge concerted effort in which the food industry will have a leading role to play, Ben Cooper writes.... read more

What could be the benefits of US approval of GM salmon?

30 November 2015 | Ben Cooper

The US Food and Drug Administration's decision to approve AquaBounty Technologies' AquAdvantage salmon for consumption in the country sees the collision of two highly controversial subjects, namely aquaculture and genetic modification.... read more

Why decision on US dietary guidelines is missed opportunity

12 October 2015 | Ben Cooper

The US Dietary Guidelines of Americans are reviewed every five years because they are expected to evolve in response to scientific progress and recent years have seen fundamental changes in how the sustainability of the food supply and diet is viewed. Environmental criteria are too important to be ignored. Ben Cooper argues the US government has erred by not including environmental factors in the latest advice.... read more

Consuming issues: The war on child labour in cocoa is far from won

5 August 2015 | Ben Cooper

The rise in the incidence of child labour in west African cocoa production detailed in last week's report from Tulane University is a disappointment to all those working to address the issue, including food companies. While the statistics reveal some relative improvements and give ground for optimism, Ben Cooper writes, the abiding message has to be that more must be done.... read more

Comment: How to meet changing demand in US foodservice

14 July 2015 | David Henkes, Technomic

In a guest column, David Henkes, vice president at foodservice analysts Technomic, outlines how operators are responding to changing consumer demand, outlining how manufacturers serving the sector can react.... read more

Editor's viewpoint: It's tough but industry needs to act on water

14 May 2015 | Dean Best

California is, in its own words, "facing one of the most severe droughts on record" and food and beverage companies are under scrutiny. The situation has served to bring a serious issue facing the industry to wider attention - and that may spark more companies into action in an area where environmental advocates say its record is mixed.... read more

Consuming issues: Why US Dietary Guidelines committee report deserves praise

24 February 2015 | Ben Cooper

With a call for nutrient taxes and linking the impact of diet on the environment, the advisory committee's recommendations for the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans has been met with criticism by parts of the food industry. Ben Cooper argues the committee deserves praise.... read more

Consuming issues: Why US dietary guidelines should consider environment

22 January 2015 | Ben Cooper

The possibility environmental criteria might form the latest version of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans has provoked intense debate in the US, with the meat industry in strong opposition. The guidelines will be updated this year and politics may mean green issues are not considered. Ben Cooper argues ultimately that must change.... read more

Comment: New Zealand drought could hit dairy sector

16 January 2015 | Katy Askew

The possibility New Zealand could be facing another year of drought conditions is a serious concern for the country's massive dairy industry - and one which has global implications.... read more

Comment: Why Gardein is Pinnacle's ideal fodder

19 November 2014 | Hannah Abdulla

Pinnacle Foods, owner of Wishbone dressings, has been shopping and has picked out a firm that is going to bulk out its presence in the frozen food aisle and win it brownie points with a heap of consumers. ... read more

Comment: US food giants slow to react to changing attitudes to health, sustainability

8 October 2014 | Katy Askew

Some of the largest food manufacturers in the US have been sluggish to react to a consumer-led revolution around attitudes to health,wellness and sustainability. In a soft consumption environment they are now paying the price: struggling to make inroads into an area of growth in the US and losing market share to challenger brands, Katy Askew argues.... read more

just-food's pick: Natural Products Expo East ... in tweets

22 September 2014 | Katy Askew

Nothing gives you the experience of being on the ground at a trade show - without actually being on the ground - as well as social media. The buzz and activity of the event, the networking and discussion points, the emerging trends and product innovations, are all highlighted on social media pages. So, for those of you that couldn't make it to the Natural Products East Expo in Baltimore last week (18-20 September), here is our pick of the highlights from Twitter.... 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

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

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: Vermont labelling law puts spotlight back on GMOs

9 May 2014 | Katy Askew

The GMO debate has again taken centre stage in the US, with Vermont becoming the first state to require the labelling of genetically modified organisms in food products.... read more

Editor's viewpoint: Food security and consumer demand

8 April 2014 | Dean Best

There is a growing consensus that a warming climate has an impact on food production - putting supply firmly at the debate over food security. But the demands of a growing global population are just as important to consider as industry, government and academia wrestle over how to solve the issue.... read more

Editor's viewpoint: Obama and obesity

4 March 2014 | Dean Best

Some may argue the Obama administration has done less on obesity than it set out to do but its work to tackle the problem while getting significant parts of the industry on board should be praised.... read more

Consuming issues: Why Wilmar palm oil move is good news

13 December 2013 | Ben Cooper

The upbeat response to the most recent announcement concerning the sustainability of palm oil owes little to such cultural pre-programming or seasonal hyperbole. The commitment to the sustainable production and sourcing of palm oil made by Wilmar International is, quite simply, extremely good news, writes Ben Cooper.... read more

Comment: Unilever's wise - and necessary - consumer push on sustainability

20 November 2013 | Dean Best

At last. The work the food industry has made on sustainability - from curbing carbon emissions and reducing waste to responsible sourcing and nutrition - should, even to its harshest critics, should be recognised. However, the time has come for the largest manufacturers and retailers - those with the marketing muscle - to start talking directly to consumers. And Unilever, the world's second-largest FMCG advertiser, has started to do just that.... read more