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Health & wellness

Marketeers, don't despair when markets go dark - guest opinion

9 August 2017 | Neil Davidson, HeyHuman

The UK has recently further tightened restrictions on the advertising of foods high in fat, salt or sugar (HFSS). Neil Davidson, the managing director of UK FMCG marketing specialists HeyHuman, believes the new rules are yet another sign of ever-increasing limits on the promotion of consumer goods worldwide. But he argues there are plenty of opportunities to nurture and grow brands, if marketeers take a proactive approach.... 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


Activist grabs headlines but change was already on way at Nestle

29 June 2017 | Dean Best

Activist investors putting pressure on food companies is not new, especially not in recent years, although Nestle's stature in the industry may have raised eyebrows as US investment fund Third Point made the world's largest food business the latest to feel the heat. However, there were already signs of change at Nestle under new CEO Mark Schneider, Dean Best argues.... 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


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


UK sugar debate becoming more measured - column

1 May 2017 | Ben Cooper

Ben Cooper reports from a UK conference on sugar this week and finds a shift in the tone of discussion from debate to action.... read more


Radical thinking needed to revitalise Big Food - opinion

28 April 2017 | Martin Deboo

With first-quarter results rolling in, Jefferies consumer goods analyst Martin Deboo argues the numbers underline the issues facing the sector's largest players.... read more


Why analytics will help UK suppliers hit sugar target

2 March 2017 | Dan Finke, IRI

Last summer, the UK government announced its plans to tackle childhood obesity in England - and reducing sugar is the central aim. Food manufacturers have been tasked with cutting sugar intake by 20%, with the focus initially on nine categories. Dan Finke, the managing director of IRI's UK arm, explains why suppliers should be looking at their pricing and promotional strategies to meet that target and to market a portfolio that may contain high- and low-sugar products.... 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


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


How regional divergence in policy sets food companies new challenge

14 July 2016 | Ben Cooper

The regional government in the Indian state of Kerala has become the latest administration to impose a tax on less healthy foods. Ben Cooper assesses the significance of this move to multinational food companies.... read more


Why industry should engage after Public Health England sugar report

27 October 2015 | Ben Cooper

With suspicion of so-called Big Food at an all-time high, the food industry needs to be proactive in its response to Public Health England's report on sugar. Ben Cooper highlights ways manufacturers could show positive engagement.... read more


How latest trans fat studies show complexity of health debate

29 September 2015 | Ben Cooper

Two pieces of research in Europe on trans fat underline the complexity of dietary science and, therefore, the formulation of product development strategies and public health messages. Ben Cooper reports.... read more


Consuming issues: Why UK must act in wake of SACN report

20 July 2015 | Ben Cooper

A panel advising the UK government on nutrition has recommended halving the official guidance on the consumption of free sugars. Attention now turns to how the country's politicians will respond. Ben Cooper argues the UK government should act - but some policies are more likely than others.... read more


Consuming issues: UK Responsibility Deal must address credibility gap

20 May 2015 | Ben Cooper

A report has criticised the UK's Public Health Responsibility Deal, a set of voluntary programmes that has seen industry work with government and public health professionals to try improve the country's health. Ben Cooper argues opponents of the scheme should not automatically see the report as vindication but insists the Deal has work to do address the report's findings.... read more


Consuming issues: Why Mars' sugar call should be welcomed

14 May 2015 | Ben Cooper

Campaigners would contend companies do not often make progressive moves on issues of public concern until pressure has been exerted on them to do so. In the food sector, there is a fair deal of historical evidence to support this, so moves like the one Mars Inc has made on the labelling of added sugar in the US are somewhat rare.... read more


In the spotlight: Why ABF's George Weston is making bread better-for-you

1 May 2015 | Hannah Abdulla

Associated British Foods this week announced the launch of a high-protein bread from its Australasian arm George Weston Foods. The company looks to be weighing up options to increase sales in the highly pressured bakery sector. Is its move into the better-for-you category in New Zealand one that will pay off? Hannah Abdulla explores.... read more


Comment: How the dairy sector should leverage functional nutrition

30 April 2015 | Katy Askew

Consumer awareness of nutrition is on the rise and globally. While salt and sugar reduction have grabbed the headlines, with campaign groups insisting the industry should do more on reformulation and reduction, consumers have increasingly come to expect manufacturers to offer products that deliver positive functional benefits. Katy Askew suggests the dairy sector could be poised to benefit.... read more


Editor's viewpoint: PepsiCo's Nooyi underlines the challenge on health

24 April 2015 | Dean Best

PepsiCo yesterday (22 April) reported a set of solid underlying first-quarter results. But it was away from the numbers that the US food and drinks giant stirred more interest, with Indra Nooyi's comments on the need to adapt to the changing ways consumers define health attracting attention.... read more


Comment: US legacy brands still have pulling power

18 March 2015 | Katy Askew

Up-and-coming categories and companies are increasingly setting the pace in the US food sector. Demand for natural, healthy, fresh and sustainable products is on the rise. This has left legacy brands facing slumping sales. But, as yesterday's Kraft Foods Group recall shows, there is still considerable interest in the old brands, Katy Askew suggests. ... read more


Comment: Why "simple" and "real" will be industry buzzwords this year

23 February 2015 | Hannah Abdulla

If there's one thing the industry is sure of, it's that consumer demand for cleaner, simpler food is on the rise in the US. This was underlined by the repeated mention of the topic through the course of the Consumer Analyst Group of New York event last week, Hannah Abdulla notes.... 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: 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


Consuming issues: Paying the price for eating healthily

16 October 2014 | Ben Cooper

Research suggesting the price gap between healthier and less healthy foods is widening will have been greeted with concern by public health experts and policymakers. Food companies should be worried too but, Ben Cooper argues, they should also be encouraged by the direction this research may take the debate.... 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


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


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


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: 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


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


Comment: Food industry failing to attract the next generation of talent

30 April 2014 | Hannah Abdulla

There is a lot to be said about a career in the food industry. But, as the Westminster Food & Nutrition Forum heard yesterday (29 April), the sector is failing to attract a new generation of talent. This represents a significant long-term threat and food manufacturers must act to attract the innovators and decision makers of tomorrow, Hannah Abdulla suggests.... read more


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