Blog: Dean BestFood makers map out global plans

Dean Best | 19 February 2010

One significant conclusion to draw from this week's CAGNY conference in Florida is that the world's largest food manufacturers seem to feel more confident in the early weeks of 2010 than they did through the whole of 2009.

After Unilever's tubthumping about the prospect for its emerging-markets business, the likes of PepsiCo and Danone both took to the podium to outline their own global ambitions.

Danone, which has had its well-documented problems in India and China, admitted its business in developing markets was "young" - but that the French food giant wants to expand its operations in key markets.

Meanwhile, PepsiCo executive Zein Abdalla almost fizzed with optimism about the potential for the food and drink group in overseas markets.

After a year in which businesses of all sizes have looked inwards as they battled recession, could these pronouncements mean companies now feel confident enough to look for pastures new?

Away from CAGNY, Nestle CEO Paul Bulcke used the Swiss group's annual results press conference to set out the company's stall for growth in emerging markets.

While markets in the West may still be feeling the grip of recession, Bulcke said there was a "different spirit" in developing markets and that Nestle had targeted growth not just in China but the wider Asian region, Latin America and Africa.

The race for growth has seemingly restarted in earnest.


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