Blog: Dean BestUS food companies prepare for analyst scrutiny

Dean Best | 21 February 2011

CAGNY, the analyst conference that has become a key date in the US food sector calendar, starts tomorrow (22 February) with 14 of the industry's biggest companies facing the scrutiny of the investment community.

The likes of Heinz, Hormel Foods, Kellogg and ConAgra will provide an update of how their businesses are dealing with the twin pressures of a weak consumer environment and rising commodity costs.

In recent weeks, as the 2010 financial results rolled in, leading executives at US food manufacturers (and, for that matter, food makers here) have insisted they can succeed in pushing through price increases to cover their more expensive raw materials.

However, competition between suppliers remains fierce (as does that between retailers) and, in some categories, promotions are still a key weapon, while private label is a threat. Price is not the cure-all panacea.

Expect, then, to hear more about how those presenting at CAGNY are looking to keep costs down - which could have an impact on those supplying into the manufacturers.

Other key issues are likely to include innovation and whether the likes of Kraft, Campbell Soup Co. and Hershey will be investing more in emerging markets - and where those dollars might go.

just-food will again be covering the event so check our news and insight pages from tomorrow later afternoon UK time for the latest from this year's CAGNY.


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