Blog: Dean BestCAGNY kicks off

Dean Best | 16 February 2010

"It's great to be here in Florida again especially after the winter most of us have been through," remarked ConAgra Foods CFO John Gehring as this year's CAGNY conference got under way today (16 February).

ConAgra has been among a clutch of food makers to present at CAGNY today as investors heard how the largest food manufacturers would drive growth in what remains a very challenging business climate, particularly in developed markets.

For its part, ConAgra said it would persist with its NPD programme this year, using cost-savings from its supply chain to provide the "fuel" for sales and earnings growth.

General Mills pointed to its own marketing moves to drive growth in the US but set out its stall to grow internationally over the next five years.

And, meanwhile, Kraft Foods, now the world's largest confectioner after its takeover Cadbury outlined a timetable for how it plans to integrate the UK firm into its business.

Investors have voiced concerns over Kraft's ability to drive profitable expansion and deliver promised margin growth in the wake of the Cadbury deal. However, Kraft believes the acquisition will drive annual sales and has set a target of revenue growth of at least 5%.

And, all the while, Kraft insisted it was exiting a number of "unprofitable" categories and focusing again on NPD instead of "value-driven" marketing.

Next up later today - Sara Lee, Unilever, Hershey and Archer Daniels Midland.



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