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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

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

Editor's viewpoint: Upheaval in the US

16 February 2015 | Dean Best

It was a bumper week of 2014 financial results, particularly from the US, but a flurry of announcements - including some surprise admissions - from across the pond on Thursday perhaps best served to underline the challenges facing mainstream food manufacturers in the country.... read more

Comment: Prepare for emerging market e-commerce

9 February 2015 | Katy Askew

Consumer goods conglomerate Hindustan Unilever is changing the operating model of its business-to-consumer direct sales arm in India, Hindustan Unilever Network, prompting speculation it is paving the way for an e-commerce debut in the country.... read more

Comment: Implications of Tesco probe could be minimal... or very far reaching indeed

5 February 2015 | Katy Askew

The Grocery Code Adjudicator launched a probe into Tesco's supplier payments today (5 February). Given Tesco has already taken moves to address issues in its supplier dealings, this investigation could appear to be more symbolic than consequential. However, with calls for regulation of supplier payments starting to mount in the UK, the attention it is sure to draw could nevertheless prove significant, Katy Askew suggests.... read more

Comment: Manufacturers should tread carefully over extended payment terms

29 January 2015 | Katy Askew

Food manufacturers are catching some flack for extending payment terms to their suppliers. The growing tension in the supply chain points to the pressure manufacturers are themselves facing in the current trading environment - and their need to free up cash flow in the balance sheet. But, in a charged political atmosphere, manufacturers should tread carefully, Katy Askew suggests.... read more

Editor's viewpoint: Global factors hold sway over UK milk prices

23 January 2015 | Dean Best

The price farmers are paid for milk has again made national headlines in the UK - and again it is the country's supermarket chains in the firing line. Even David Cameron has weighed in on the issue. But, UK farmers, like their counterparts around the world, are at the mercy of global factors.... 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

Editor's viewpoint: Plant closures point to pressure at General Mills

9 January 2015 | Dean Best

More General Mills plants look set to shut as the US food giant wrestles with falling domestic sales. The closures will help profitability but the company will likely have to turn again to M&A to get its top line growing again.... read more

Briefing: 2015 preview: Shopper trends - Finding a path to growth in 2015

2 January 2015 | Anne Lefranc, IRI European marketing director

In such a price-focused environment, manufacturers will need to find innovative ways to grow in 2015. Data, IRI's Anne Lefranc argues, will be central to these strategies.... read more

Consuming issues: Why new laws on food labels can benefit business

12 December 2014 | Ben Cooper

The new EU-wide food labelling regulations coming into effect tomorrow (13 December) represent the most extensive revision of food labelling regulations manufacturers across Europe will ever have had to cope with.... read more

Editor's viewpoint: Why a sale of Unilever's spreads arm is unlikely to be imminent

8 December 2014 | Dean Best

Unilever's move to internally spin off its spreads unit was seen by many company and industry watchers as a pre-cursor to a sale. However, an imminent sale in unlikely, with the business under-pressure and a paucity of suitors standing buy.... read more

Comment: Ferrero's dilemma highlights the problem of red tape in India

3 December 2014 | Katy Askew

Ferrero Group is purportedly re-thinking its investment plan in India due to difficulties with regulators in the country. The Indian market - with its massive population and still growing middle class - is a huge opportunity for FMCG manufacturers. But, as the Ferrero case shows, Indian regulations continue to discourage investment in local production - to the detriment of the country's economic outlook.... read more

Comment: Russia's Danone, PepsiCo criticism points to more challenges

1 December 2014 | Katy Askew

For US and European companies exporting products to Russia, the operating environment has been challenging to say the least. Recent comments from Moscow would suggest that the going could get tougher for multinationals who operate local subsidiaries in the country as well, Katy Askew suggests.... read more

Editor's viewpoint: Why UK food firms must look to export

28 November 2014 | Dean Best

Tough trading conditions in the UK can make it difficult for food companies to find the time and resources to build a presence overseas. However, Dean Best argues it is that market landscape that makes it imperative more companies look to exports for growth.... read more

Shopper trends: How more promotions can mean higher prices for consumers

27 November 2014 | Tim Eales, IRI

A focus throughout Europe on offering high volumes of products on promotion is not making the average shopping basket any cheaper, and consumers are not necessarily getting a good deal on price and are ending up paying more for their average shop, according to IRI's Tim Eales.... read more

Comment: Mondelez digital strategy suffers blow with UK ruling

26 November 2014 | Katy Askew

The UK's Advertising Standards Authority dealt Mondelez International a blow today (26 November) when it found the group's YouTube ads breach the country's advertising code. The ruling is significant for the snacks giant given the recent video-streaming drive it hopes will position it as a "digital pioneer". Mondelez is nevertheless wise to forge ahead in its bid to connect with consumers online, Katy Askew suggests.... 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

Editor's viewpoint: Imminent Hostess Brands sale would be surprise

17 November 2014 | Dean Best

The private-equity owners of Hostess Brands are, according to reports, mulling a sale, just a year after buying the US snacks business. There is speculation Apollo Global Management and C. Dean Metropoulos are planning for to sell Hostess early next year. However, that looks unlikely.... read more

Comment: Price is the word in UK grocery

12 November 2014 | Katy Askew

It hardly even seems to count as news: the German discounters continue to make strides in the UK. The trend has been in evidence for years now, as a tight focus on price and improved ranging enable Aldi and Lidl to continue to win shoppers in their droves. This week's announcement that Aldi plans to invest heavily in the market should be viewed as a signal of intent. The Germans are coming - and their advance is likely to put even more pressure on pricing for food makers. Katy Askew reports.... read more

Editor's viewpoint: Milk sale makes Dairy Crest takeover target

6 November 2014 | Dean Best

Shares in Dairy Crest shot up today (6 November) after the UK dairy group announced a deal to sell its most problematic and under-pressure division - liquid milk. However, it may just be the City was not just reacting to the exit (dependent of course on competition officials approving the transaction) of Dairy Crest from a sector struggling to make money but the fact there could be takeover interest in the leaner company.... read more

Editor's viewpoint: United Biscuits sees Yildiz head West again

3 November 2014 | Dean Best

Yildiz Holding today (3 November) announced it had won the race to buy UK-based biscuit maker United Biscuits. In doing so, the privately-owned Turkish food group has moved once more to buy a major Western food brand.... read more

Editor's viewpoint: Short-termism decides Chiquita's future

27 October 2014 | Dean Best

The imminent sale of Chiquita Brands International, the US produce giant, shows how different investment horizons can manifest on a company's share roster - and decide a business's future.... read more

Why data is key to shopper satisfaction

27 October 2014 | Mike Ray, IRI

Ensuring product availability rates are as high as possible has never been as important, with growth in the grocery sector hard to come by. IRI's Mike Ray argues retailers' supply chain systems are not enough and better data analytics of store sales and promotions can benefit supplier and retailer.... read more

Comment: Growth question hangs over refocused Premier

23 October 2014 | Dean Best

Premier Foods plc, the UK food group, appears to have a solid strategy in place - but whether it can succeed in eking out top-line growth in a tough trading environment is, at present, less than certain.... read more

Editor's viewpoint: Boulder Brands should consider Smart Balance sale

23 October 2014 | Dean Best

The US spreads and gluten-free group saw its shares slump yesterday after warning about its short-term profitability. Boulder's Smart Balance business continues to struggle and Dean Best argues the company should be mulling the brand's future within the group's portfolio.... read more

Editor's viewpoint: Chiquita right to stand firm

20 October 2014 | Dean Best

Chiquita Brands International still appears set on its proposed merger with Fyffes – and the US produce giant is, at the moment, right to do so.... 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

M&A Watch: Emmi shareholders should consider sale

14 October 2014 | Stefan Kirk, M&A advisors Glenboden

The recent sale of Italian unit Trentinalatte confirms growth through acquisition is not something Emmi is always successful at. Would, Stefan Kirk asks, the Swiss group's shareholders consider a liquidity event that would make them a participant in European dairy consolidation, plus earn them lots of money?... read more

Comment: FrieslandCampina in China - the right place at the right time

10 October 2014 | Hannah Abdulla

FrieslandCampina made two announcements last week that it was re-jigging its European operations, demonstrating it was well on its way to right-sizing its business. This week it announced it had struck a deal to grow its presence in China's infant formula market. Given the country is in the midst of lifting its one-child policy, this latest move from the Dutch dairy giant could prove fundamental to its growth, fast-tracking it to hitting its route2020 targets. Hannah Abdulla explores. ... 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

Editor's viewpoint: Emmi scales back in Italy's sour dairy market

6 October 2014 | Dean Best

Emmi's move to sell Italian yoghurt business Trentinalatte, announced this morning (6 October), was the latest example of the challenges facing companies doing business in the country's dairy sector.... read more

Editor's viewpoint: Baptism of fire for new Tesco CEO Lewis

22 September 2014 | Dean Best

Tesco's dealings with suppliers appear to be at the centre of the latest problem to emerge at the UK's largest retailer. And it is an issue that has left many industry watchers left shaking their heads in bewilderment today (22 September).... 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