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Corporate responsibility

Consuming issues: Give Tesco some credit on waste

24 October 2013 | Ben Cooper

While there has been plenty of condemnation for Tesco on its announcement on waste, it deserves praise first for its candour, writes Ben Cooper.... 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: 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

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

Consuming issues - GM debate comes down to question of trust

25 April 2013 | Ben Cooper

The GM debate has re-emerged in the UK in the last couple of weeks with the news four major supermarket operators will allow their suppliers to use GM feed for poultry and eggs.... read more

Consuming issues - Cocoa's certification challenge

3 April 2013 | Ben Cooper

Hershey's commitment to source 100% of its cocoa requirements from third-party-certified sources by 2020 has been broadly welcomed. However, what form that certification will take is unclear and is likely to remain so until the cocoa sector at large agrees sustainability standards and evolves the means to certify a huge amount of cocoa.... read more

Consuming issues: Let them eat horse

26 February 2013 | Ben Cooper

The suggestion this weekend from German development minister Dirk Niebel that food products containing horsemeat should be distributed to the poor reminds us that, while indicative of a glaring lack of scrutiny on the part of food companies, the horsemeat scandal has represented no danger to human health to date.... read more

COMMENT: Don't scoff too loudly at legal limits on fat in food

9 January 2013 | Chris Mercer

Calls for limits on salt, sugar and fat in foods marketed to children in the UK do not seem so far-fetched when one considers the scale of the challenge posed by poor diet.... read more

The most-read comment from just-food in 2012

18 December 2012 | Dean Best

just-food does not shy away from commenting on the major developments and issues in the industry and this year its focus centred on issues from traffic-light labels to sustainability, on deals like Kellogg's takeover of Pringles and Arla Foods' latest venture in China.... read more

Sustainability Watch - Narrowing the Atlantic divide

26 November 2012 | Ben Cooper

It is often said that European companies are ahead of their US counterparts in how they view corporate sustainability, with the latter too narrowly focused on environmental impacts under their immediate control and failing to see the bigger picture. Ben Cooper found at this year's FMI/GMA Sustainability Summit that attitudes are changing.... read more

Comment: Communication key for next stage of Sainsbury's CSR push

23 November 2012 | Dean Best

Sainsbury's is one of the more proactive and open FMCG companies on sustainability and deserve plaudits for its work so far. However, as Dean Best writes, the UK retailer needs to communicate its initiatives more to be seen to be at the forefront of developments on such issues, as consumer interest is growing.... read more

Comment: Child labour hangs over chocolate sector's CSR programmes

20 November 2012 | Dean Best

Cadbury owner Mondelez International has pledged US$400m to try to improve the lives of cocoa farmers and, crucially, help shore up future supplies of the commodity. The investment is the latest by a number of suppliers and, while their work should be welcomed, the use of child labour in cocoa farming remains a tough nut to crack.... read more

Comment: FMI/GMA summit sees sustainability as challenge and responsibility

5 October 2012 | Ben Cooper

So, Coca-Cola wants eventually to develop a bottle that you can drink from and when you're finished eat? I suppose that is the ultimate definition of empty calories!... read more

Consuming issues: UK dairy row brings inequality questions north

29 September 2012 | Ben Cooper

This summer's dispute of UK dairy prices shows how the debate over how farmers are treated can reach the developed markets of the north, writes Ben Cooper.... read more

Street talk: Quality, value prevail in tough times

6 September 2012 | Rod Street

We are seeing an unprecedented situation playing out with sustained economic uncertainty and turbulence in developed markets, writes SymphonyIRI's Rod Street. Yet even with the value squeeze and closing gap between national and retailer brands, quality and value are prevailing.... read more

Comment: Co-op has plenty to ponder after unsurprising H1 results

24 August 2012 | Dean Best

Another fall in profits from The Co-operative Group's food stores has hardly surprised the UK retail sector and there is the feeling the country's fifth-largest grocer has a lot to do to revitalise its grocery business.... read more

Comment: Banks scale back food commodity speculation

17 August 2012 | Chris Mercer

Food commodity speculation is back in the spotlight as the prospect of another global food price surge looms and banks move to placate regulators.... read more

Comment: Nestle takes responsibility on child labour

4 July 2012 | Ben Cooper

Ben Cooper believes Nestle's response to the investigation into its Ivory Coast cocoa supply chain by the Fair Labor Association has the potential to move the needle on what has been frequently described as an intractable issue.... read more

Comment: Consumers central to industry's sustainability drive

23 May 2012 | Dean Best

Stakeholders from campaign groups to industry representatives made it clear this week the food sector needs to improve its environmental credentials. However, as Dean Best writes, the sector needs to take consumers along with them, thoughts echoed by Marks and Spencer chief executive Marc Bolland yesterday (22 May).... read more

Best bits: Industry's green efforts return to spotlight

21 May 2012 | Dean Best

This week, two conferences in London will look at how the food industry is trying to alleviate its impact on the environment and the events are timely, with the UN Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio next month.... read more

Comment: Corporate giants must show softer side

19 April 2012 | Katy Askew

As consumers become increasingly aware of CSR issues thanks to social networking and the internet, being perceived as ethical has never had a greater impact on the bottom line. Katy Askew suggests UK retailer Tesco should take a leaf out of Nestle's book as it looks show consumers a friendlier face.... read more

Comment: Organic sector should focus on quality to boost sales

30 March 2012 | Ben Cooper

The continuing fall in demand for organic food in the UK is perplexing those in the sector, not least when sales of in another 'ethical' category, Fairtrade, have withstood the downturn and increased rapidly. Consumers buy organic for different reasons and the sector has lacked a true message to try to appeal to the mainstream. A focus on quality, Ben Cooper writes, could be the answer.... read more

Street talk: Four resolutions for an uncertain 2012

9 January 2012 | Rod Street

The consensus is that those hoping for an easier year in 2012 could be disappointed. Consumer confidence will remain in the doldrums, competition will remain fierce and economic uncertainty will continue. In his first column of the year, SymphonyIRI's Rod Street suggests some ways in which manufacturers and retailers could look to improve in 2012.... read more

Comment: UK supermarkets risk reputations by opposing scrutiny

8 July 2011 | Ben Cooper

The creation of a Groceries Code Adjudicator has been opposed by nine of the ten UK retailers which it would be overseeing. Ben Cooper suggests their position does not sit well with much-vaunted pronouncements about corporate responsibility and may be strategically misguided.... read more

Best bits: Nestle adds to commodity concern

13 June 2011 | Dean Best

The size and scope of Nestle means that, when it talks, the industry should stop and listen. Last week, Nestle held its annual investor meeting at its HQ in the Swiss town of Vevey and the world's largest food maker had some forthright comments to make on one of the issues taxing minds throughout the food industry - commodity costs.... read more

Best bits: Lactalis's Parmalat push kicks off busy week

26 April 2011 | Dean Best

Lactalis threw down the gauntlet - and blew away any post-Easter cobwebs on consumer goods newsdesks in Europe - in the battle for the ownership of Italian dairy group Parmalat this morning (26 April) with a takeover bid for the entire business.... read more

Quote, unquote: just-food's week in words

8 April 2011 | just-food.com

M&A led the news agenda again this week, with Diamond Foods' plans to acquire crisp brand Pringles, while Smithfield revealed plans to acquire Spanish meat brand Campofrio. Meanwhile, M&S published better than expected results for its fourth quarter. Here's the best of what was said this week.... read more

Comment: The challenges and opportunities of commodity prices

1 April 2011 | Katy Askew

Commodity price spikes have again made headlines, hitting new "record" levels this year and leaving food manufacturers to grapple with rising input costs while consumers face inflated retail prices. The increasing cost of commodities such as cocoa, grains and sugar does not look set to be a short-lived phenomenon with growth in demand outstripping supply. However, Katy Humphries suggests, this changing dynamic presents food makers with opportunities as well as challenges.... read more

Sustainability Watch – Corporate responsibility: what's in a name?

31 March 2011 | Ben Cooper

In this month's Sustainability Watch, Ben Cooper wrestles with the nomenclature of corporate social responsibility, with a little help from Nestlé chairman Peter Brabeck-Letmathe.... read more

Quote, unquote: just-food's week in words

4 March 2011 | just-food.com

If last week's common theme was rising commodity costs, this week's focus was firmly on mergers, acquisitions and disposals, with retailers including Iceland, Ahold and Delhaize announcing acquisitions or the desire to acquire, while Carrefour finally revealed plans to spin-off its property and Dia portfolios.... read more

Best bits: US food manufacturers look to lift product costs

28 February 2011 | Dean Best

For US food manufacturers struggling with rising raw-material costs - and fearful of the impact that slapping a higher price on their products could have on sales volumes - the words last week of the chief executive of one of the country's largest retailers would have provided some reassurance.... read more

Quote, unquote: just-food's week in words

18 February 2011 | just-food.com

Danone chairman and CEO Franck Riboud (pictured) was among the latest leading food-industry executives to announce his company's financial performance - and comment on the global economy, commodity costs and the outlook for 2011.... read more

Quote, unquote: just-food's week in words

11 February 2011 | just-food.com

The focus returned to rising commodity costs again this week, as Flowers Foods, Kraft Foods and PepsiCo admitting that input pressure had impacted their results - and their financial forecasts for 2011. Meanwhile, Raisio's CEO told just-food about the company focus on developing its 'ecological snacking' business and the UK government revealed a report on the difficulties around green labelling. Here's the best of what was said this week:... read more

Quote, unquote: just-food's week in words

28 January 2011 | just-food.com

Sara Lee today (28 January) unveiled plans to split it's business in two, ending speculation since last summer that the company may be sold.... read more

BRICs and beyond: Which way will the Dragon turn?

20 January 2011 | Chris Brook-Carter

China. A land of opportunity and panacea for all that ails the global business community or an economic time-bomb ready to explode the World's fragile recovery and plunge us back into a second crisis in so many years?... read more