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Health & wellness

Consuming issues: Seven a day, no fooling

10 April 2014 | Ben Cooper

The latest intervention in the diet and health debate in the UK hit the headlines on 1 April. It was not an April Fool but the findings of research from University College London that we should be eating seven portions of fruit or veg a day may have prompted a wry smile from those who struggle to get near the 'five-a-day' recommendation.... read more

Editor's viewpoint: Glanbia has stamina

18 March 2014 | Dean Best

The 2013 results posted by Irish food group Glanbia stood out, both for the growth the company achieved last year and its optimism for its prospects this year and beyond. ... read more

Consuming issues: WHO influence on sugar may be stronger

12 March 2014 | Ben Cooper

Some campaigners believe the WHO's new guidance on sugar intake did not go far enough and are concerned the organisation will face lobbying from industry. Food manufacturers insist there is no scientific evidence to halve the recommendation from 10% of daily energy to 5%. Governments can, of course, ignore any new guidance. However, Ben Cooper argues the debate around public health and diet has changed and could make the WHO a more influential voice.... read more

Editor's viewpoint: Nestle's L'Oreal decision is worth it

11 February 2014 | Dean Best

After a period of flagging sales, Nestle investors may have been hoping the food giant would offload its stake in L'Oreal to fund a programme of share buybacks. In fact, the company has decided to only trim its L'Oreal stake and, in the process, gain full control of a skin health venture between the two sides - a move that underlines Nestle's wise longer-term strategy to target health and wellness in its broadest sense.... read more

In the spotlight: Hain Celestial must be wary of over-extending

7 February 2014 | Katy Askew

Hain Celestial has rapidly grown its business by expanding into new categories and markets through a series of acquisitions, notably in the UK. However, such rapid expansion has its challenges. Perhaps execution issues at Hain Daniels, the US group's UK-focused business, could be viewed as a warning to management that the group should be careful not to over-extend itself, Katy Askew suggests.... read more

Consuming issues: Battle lines drawn over added sugar

15 January 2014 | Ben Cooper

The leading health experts behind the Action on Sugar campaign, launched last week, believe the success in driving down salt intake in the UK following the launch of the Consensus Action on Salt and Health campaign can be replicated with sugar. Ben Cooper has his doubts.... read more

Best bits: Industry beware as obesity returns to spotlight

13 January 2014 | Dean Best

It is the time of year when health is on many of our minds and, in recent days, obesity has led the news agenda. Today, in the UK, there were claims forecasts may end up having under-estimated the problem. The food industry needs to be seen to be acting on the issue or end up being seen as part of the problem.... read more

Consuming issues: A taxing question

14 November 2013 | Ben Cooper

As it has done elsewhere, the food industry is opposing the imposition of a tax on sugary drinks and high-calorie foods in Mexico. The industry has been generally successful in forestalling the imposition of nutrient taxes and its reasons for opposition - such taxes are ineffective and regressive - carry some weight. But when industry is seen to have prevailed in debates purely by dint of massive lobbying power, issues of trust and credibility inevitably arise.... read more

Best bits: Nestle, Kellogg latest to reappraise businesses

11 November 2013 | Dean Best

Food giants Nestle and Kellogg have become the latest companies to make structural changes to their businesses. Nestle has sold the bulk of its Jenny Craig assets and more disposals could follow, while Kellogg is to cut jobs and plough the savings into boosting growth.... read more

Comment: Sat fat pledges highlight work ahead for dairy

30 October 2013 | Ben Cooper

As UK industry moves to lower saturated fat were making headlines, the World Dairy Summit in Japan was hearing a warning of the "challenges" the sector faces on diet and nutrition issues. Dairy manufacturers have made some efforts but, Ben Cooper writes, with the sat fat initiative following this summer's hybrid labelling scheme, the sector faces more work ahead.... read more

Consuming issues - Obama anti-obesity drive still moving

7 October 2013 | Ben Cooper

Children's food advertising is no longer on the Obama policy agenda but the administration is still actively engaged on the issue, as last month's event at the White House demonstrates.... 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

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

Comment: US firm Boulder eyes slice of UK gluten-free pie

3 May 2013 | Katy Askew

US health and wellness firm Boulder Brands has acquired a small UK-based gluten-free company, Davies Bakery. The US gluten-free specialist has ambitions to expand the UK business well beyond Davies' current scale. However, Katy Askew suggests, Boulder is likely to come up against stiff competition in the increasingly crowded space of the UK gluten-free sector.... 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

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

Consuming issues: Industry should engage on nutrient taxes

8 November 2012 | Ben Cooper

With nutrient taxes recently attracting media attention in a number of countries, Ben Cooper reflects on how the food and beverage industry might react to the heightened debate.... read more

Best bits: The nutrient tax issue has not gone away

29 October 2012 | Dean Best

The hotly-contested issue of taxes on food products raised its head on both sides of the Atlantic last week. The news comes as a sign that, despite scepticism in some circles that such levies do not work, they remain seen as a potential solution to the problem of obesity.... read more

Consuming issues - UK food makers unbowed on FOP labelling

24 October 2012 | Ben Cooper

The Food and Drink Federation (FDF), which represents UK food manufacturers, shows little sign of relinquishing its dogged support of a system based solely on percentage of guideline daily amounts (GDAs), 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

Consuming issues: Tesco leaves FDF at lights

24 August 2012 | Ben Cooper

The unexpected announcement by Tesco that it will incorporate colour-coding, or 'traffic lights', into its front-of-pack nutritional labelling surprised industry watchers but has more importantly left UK food manufacturers isolated, writes Ben Cooper.... read more

Street talk: Pressure to grow affects prices and promotions

25 June 2012 | Rod Street

The economic difficulties faced by consumers across Europe mean that FMCG retailers and manufacturers must master a tough balancing act well into the middle of the decade, trading off volumes and margins, writes SymphonyIRI's Rod Street.... 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: US food industry braces for challenge ahead

27 February 2012 | Katy Askew

The world's largest retailer Wal-Mart was able to report some encouraging news last week, when it unveiled improved domestic sales for the final quarter of 2011.... read more

Best bits: Nestle, Lactalis secure prized deals

11 July 2011 | Dean Best

In the last 72 hours, Nestle and Lactalis have struck significant pieces of M&A, writes Dean Best.... read more

Best bits: West ends Hershey tenure; Iceland Foods sale begins

24 May 2011 | Dean Best

Dave West, raised eyebrows last week with his decision to, well, head west and leave his post as Hershey chief executive for the top job at Del Monte Foods. But will Hershey's fortunes head south in the wake of West's departure?... 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

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

18 March 2011 | just-food.com

The announcement today that General Mills has entered exclusive talks to buy a stake in French dairy business Yoplait will end one of the most fiercely-contested takeover battles in the food industry in the last 12 months. This week, just-food also spent time exploring the new products on offer at IFE and heard about the strategies driving the UK grocery operators. Here's the best of what was said on just-food this week:... 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

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

Best bits: Uncertainty over Northern; Premier sells Quorn; Wal-Mart's health kick

24 January 2011 | Dean Best

It had gone 7pm on Friday night when, at last, UK poultry and fish supplier Boparan Holdings showed its hand in the battle to buy Northern Foods.... read more

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

21 January 2011 | just-food.com

Wal-Mart, as it often does, this week shook up the US grocery sector with its plans to make a swathe of its private-label products healthier. Elsewhere, speculation of changes within the food-ingredients space continued with Cargill named as a potential bidder for Tate & Lyle. And, a year since Kraft Foods succeeded in getting Cadbury's board to back its plans to buy the UK confectioner, the US group faced rumours that management at Green & Black's wanted to buy the organic chocolate business.... 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