Blog: Hustle bustle continues at CAGNY

Michelle Russell | 18 February 2010

This week, the leaders of some of the world's largest food manufacturers headed to Florida for the annual Consumer Analyst Group of New York (CAGNY) conference to discuss the downturn and how to deal with still-weak consumer confidence in many markets.

Amongst the various speakers was the president and CEO of Campbell Soup Co. Doug Conant who underlined the importance of the US food group plans to revamp its condensed soup business.

The Campbell boss said sales volumes of condensed soup in the US had been "stronger" than they had been "in several years", and laid out plans to "fire up" its condensed portfolio, which accounts for half of the company's US soup business.

Rival Heinz also sounded an upbeat note as it saw its shares rise on the expectation of "very strong" third-quarter earnings per share.

William Johnson, president, chairman and CEO revealed plans for the launch of Heinz infant formula in Russia and China in a bid to capitalise on the rapid growth of the emerging markets, an area touched on many times by speakers this week.

It was also the turn of Hershey chief executive Dave West yesterday, who revealed it is "actively" looking at ways to grow its international business through mergers and acquisitions.

The company's overseas strategy has been called into question after Kraft Foods' acquisition of Cadbury, with some commentators asking whether the Reese's maker has the scale to compete. West clearly believes it has.

And so, with just a day and a half remaining, we await announcements from Danone, Dean Foods and PepsiCo.


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