Tag Archive | "UK"

Budweiser launches twist-off bottle caps


Budweiser_twist-off_capsAnheuser-Busch InBev’s beer brand, Budweiser has introduced new twist-off bottle caps for its product line in the UK.

The new caps are expected to eliminate the need for bottle openers, providing an easier serving experience.

Budweiser UK&I senior brand manager Aina Fuller said: “This is so much more than a packaging innovation for Budweiser – never again will consumers have to search high and low for a bottle opener, or battle to open bottles with their teeth.

“We’re proud to continue to lead the category in the UK by being the first major beer brand to bring twist-off caps to British consumers, ensuring they now never have to miss a minute of the action – like a goal in an exciting football match.

“We believe Budweiser Twist-Offs will position our brand as the only beer to enjoy during key occasions for our audience, across on and off trade.”

The new packaging will feature back labels, crowns and secondary packaging for all bottles, as well as paper neck labels for 660ml bottles.

The launch will be complemented by a multi-million pound campaign including TV and digital advertising, PR, social media, and in-store activations.

Budweiseris an American pale lager produced by Anheuser–Busch InBev. Introduced in 1876 by Carl Conrad & Co. of St. Louis, Missouri, it has grown to become one of the highest sellingbeers in the United States, and is available in over 80 markets worldwide.

Posted in PackagingComments Off on Budweiser launches twist-off bottle caps

UK Parliament to debate on sugary drinks tax


On Monday 30 November the House of Commons will debate an e-petition calling for “a tax on sugary drinks in the UK to improve our children’s health.” The debate was scheduled by the Petitions Committee following a petition started online by Jamie Oliver and Sustain.

The debate, led by Helen Jones MP, Chair of the Petitions Committee, will start at 4.30pm on Monday in Westminster Hall. The debate is on the motion: “That this House has considered e-petition 106651 relating to a tax on sugary drinks.”

The petition was started by Jamie Oliver and Sustain and has now been signed by over 151,000 people. The Petitions Committee referred the petition to the Health Committee, which took evidence from the petitioners as part of its inquiry into childhood obesity.

The Petitions Committee has decided to schedule a debate on the petition to coincide with the publication of a report from the Health Committee. The Health Committee will make recommendations about what the Government’s policy priorities should be for addressing childhood obesity. MPs will be able to discuss the petition and the Health Committee’s report in the debate.

Posted in IngredientsComments Off on UK Parliament to debate on sugary drinks tax

Foodex 2016 to bring UK food and drink manufacturing sectors together


Foodex 2016, the UK’s premier trade event for the food and drink processing, packaging, ingredients and logistics industries, will return to the NEC Birmingham in April 2016. The show provides a business platform for professionals across full industry spectrum including bakery, beverage, dairy, fresh, ingredients, logistics, meat and seafood.

Run over three days (18–20 April 2016), the show will focus upon the buoyancy of the British food and drink manufacturing sector, discussing the trends that are shaping the industry, whilst showcasing the technologies allowing manufacturers to work more efficiently and productively.

Visitors can discover the latest new ingredients and super foods to make an impression on the industry as well as discovering how to improve traceability, consumer trust and transform productivity.

With more than 300 exhibitors expected at the 2016 show, the latest technologies and product launches from across the UK’s manufacturing industries will be on display. Returning for the 2016 show, exhibitors including Multivac UK, ULMA Packaging, Reiser UK and Handtmann will join a raft of new exhibitors to showcase the latest innovations.

Darren Turrell, Managing Director, EFAFLEX UK Limited, commented on his decision to exhibit at the show: “Foodex 2016 is a first for EFAFLEX. We feel that the show will provide EFAFLEX with an excellent opportunity for us to demonstrate the quality and operational benefits of our products, while directly engaging with the individual needs of users within this key market. We’re excited to be a part of this exhibition and look forward to April 2016.”

Features at this year’s show include The National Meat Products and The Premier Young Butcher competitions. The National Meat Products Competition, hosted by the National Federation of Meat & Food Traders (NFMFT), will be returning to the event for the sixth consecutive occasion.

Foodex 2The competition, the biggest and best yet, will comprise of 20 categories and will see for the first time the inclusion of charcuterie in addition to the standard favourites of sausages, bacon, burgers, ready meals and pies.

In addition, the Premier Young Butcher event will see talented 18 to 23-year-old apprentice butchers compete to produce and display the most innovative Ready to Eat, Stuffed Roast, Seam Butchery, Barbecue and Kitchen Ready products.

Meanwhile, the centre stage will host a comprehensive programme of demonstrations, interactive debates and seminars across all three days. Speakers at last year’s event included presentations from the likes of The Fabulous Baker Brothers, representatives from Campden BRI, Lord Rooker, former chairman of the Food Standards Agency, and representatives from the National Skills Academy for Food and Drink and the Institute of Food Science and Technology.

Aside from exploring the show floor and frequenting the lively debates, plenary sessions and interactive master classes, visitors can head to the Engage @ Foodex zone. This is an interactive visitor destination, highlighting all sectors of the industry and offering visitors and exhibitors the chance to meet, interact and relax whilst sourcing industry information.

Dan Dixon, Event Director, said: “Foodex 2016 represents an ideal environment for decision makers from across a wide range of industries to network with key figures in the food industry, all set against a backdrop of innovation and industry expertise.”

Foodex is co-located with Food & Drink Expo, National Convenience Show and Farm Shop & Deli Show.

To register for free, receiving entry to all co-located shows, visit:  www.foodex.co.uk

Posted in Conferences & ExhibitionsComments Off on Foodex 2016 to bring UK food and drink manufacturing sectors together

Surge in UK Convenience Market


UK convenience stores’ sales are forecast to reach £44 billion by 2017, according to the latest research by IGD. This represents a 29% increase from the current value of £34 billion. The average annual growth rate for the convenience sector is set to be 5.1% between now and 2017.

IGD’s ShopperVista research highlights some of the trends helping convenience stores to grow:

* Shoppers are favouring a ‘little and often’ approach, with 49% of them now doing their grocery shopping three or more times a week, compared to 39% in 2009

* Seven out of ten (72% of) convenience store shoppers can see themselves using these shops to pick up parcels if they are not home for a delivery, saving people time while giving another reason to visit convenience stores and boost sales.

“Despite the tough trading conditions, the UK convenience sector is performing well and growing faster than the total grocery market,” points out Joanne Denney-Finch, chief executive of IGD. “The convenience market is benefiting as people favour a ‘little and often’ approach to their food shopping that helps them budget and spread the cost. The sector is also more competitive than ever, with operators raising their game to attract more customers. This includes offering stronger promotions, a greater choice of goods and better value for money.”

Nearly three-quarters (72%) of convenience stores are still independently owned, either by an unaffiliated retailer or as part of a symbol group such as Nisa or Spar. So they stand to benefit from the considerable interest in supporting local communities and businesses.

She adds: “People are leading increasingly busy lives and might not be home when online deliveries or bulky post arrives. Convenience stores can help by offering the facility to pick up parcels, giving shoppers the opportunity to do grocery shopping at the same time, and providing another reason to use them. The stores could do more to embrace technology and make convenience shopping easier. Two-thirds (65%) of shoppers can see themselves using money-off coupons sent to their mobile phones when doing their convenience store shopping.”

Posted in News, ReportsComments Off on Surge in UK Convenience Market

Carlsberg Targets UK Cider Market


Carlsberg is entering the fast growing UK cider market with the launch of its Somersby brand. Produced in Herefordshire, the cider will initially be available in 440ml cans and 500ml bottles in the off-trade with the on-trade launch scheduled for early 2013.

Carlsberg is targeting the mainstream cider segment. “There is a lot of activity in premium cider and we felt there was an opportunity to revitalise the mainstream and provide another credible option within that space,” explains Nick Howells, head of innovation at Carlsberg. “I think as a business one of Carlsberg’s strengths is its mainstream brands. That is where we are strong.”

Somersby was first launched by Carlsberg in Denmark and Norway in 2008. In Denmark Somersby is the market leader and in Norway Somersby is the second largest cider on the market. Following the success of Somersby apple cider, a pear variant as well as fruity flavoured line extensions have been launched in both countries. Somersby is now sold in more than 22 countries with Northern Europe as its main markets followed by Western Europe.

In Europe the cider category has grown continuously by over 3% per annum over the last ten years and is projected to continue to grow over the next ten years. In the Nordic countries cider represents 5-10% share of beer volume.

Posted in NewsComments Off on Carlsberg Targets UK Cider Market

UK Soft Drinks Industry Exhibits Solid Growth


The soft drinks industry grew in value by 5.1% in 2011 to more than £14.5 billion, according to the 2012 UK Soft Drinks Report. Published by the British Soft Drinks Association, with data from Zenith International, the report also reveals that consumption grew by 0.7% to reach more than 14.6 billion litres, or 253.3 litres per person.

Bottled water consumption rose by 2.2% to reach 33.6 litres per person. Carbonates consumption grew by 4.1%, of which 38% is now diet, low calorie or no added sugar.

Dilutables retail value increased by 3.7% in 2011 to reach £945 million. Fruit juice and smoothies grew in retail value by 4.2% to reach £1.8 billion, and with a volume of 1160 million litres provided 124 servings of fruit juice per person. Still and juice drinks consumption increased by 1.2% to 1.47 billion litres.

The market for sports and energy drinks grew by 10% last year to 660 million litres. The report has the title ‘Long-term commitment for long-term success’ and showcases examples of achievement in the soft drinks industry over the past 100 years and also in the past year.

Posted in NewsComments Off on UK Soft Drinks Industry Exhibits Solid Growth

Acquisition of Cumbrian Seafoods Approved


The UK Office of Fair Trading has cleared the acquisition of Cumbrian Seafoods by private equity company Lion Capital, which also owns Young’s Seafood, the UK’s leading chilled and frozen fish and seafood company. The OFT examined the implications of the deal, particularly with regard to whether it gave Young’s Seafood a dominant position in the smoked salmon market as well as greater market power in chilled seafood, but has decided not to refer it to the Competition Commission.

Lion Capital acquired Cumbrian Seafoods which is the UK’s leading independent seafood company, late last year from the administrator. Earlier this year, Young’s Seafood announced that, following a review of the operations of Cumbrian Seafoods and its subsidiary Border Laird, some 555 jobs were being cut from the business across its three sites in the UK – a state-of-the-art seafood processing plant at Seaham in County Durham, a smokery at Whitehaven in Cumbria and the Border Laird shellfish facility at Amble in Northumberland. According to Young’s Seafood, the fact that Cumbrian Seafoods went into administration indicated that its business model was not viable and major restructuring was required.

 

Posted in NewsComments Off on Acquisition of Cumbrian Seafoods Approved

UK Food and Drink Exports Top £12 Billion


UK food and non-alcoholic drink exports rose to over £12 billion (£12,152.4m) in 2011, exceeding expectations and confirming significant potential for overseas growth over the next decade. The previous year’s results (2010) proved a landmark for the industry when figures broke through the £10 billion barrier, but the 2011 results show performance is up by 11.4% on 2010. The £12 billion figure is good news for the food and drink manufacturing industry which has set itself the ambition to grow 20% by 2020.

Export growth has been fuelled by strong performance in new and emerging markets including Eastern Europe and the Far East. China entered the top 20 export destinations for the first time with a 55% increase on 2010, partly due to changing tastes and an increasingly westernised diet. South Korea increased by 37% and Hong Kong by 41%. Established non EU markets also performed well with exports to the US rising by 25% between 2010-2011. The non EU share of the £12 billion total was 23% compared to 77% for the EU.

The UK’s traditional EU customers also remained loyal, with Ireland remaining the top export destination closely followed by France and the Netherlands. Dutch interest in UK products increased with a 30% increase echoed by Belgium (29.9%) and Germany (15%).

Interesting percentage rises were recorded in many key product sectors. The highest percentage rises in food were seen in fish fillets (32%); beef (32%); milk and cream (20%); lamb (20%) and cheese (18%). Prepared foods (including prepared meat; sweet biscuits and soft drinks) all exhibited double digit growth and the export of chocolate, the UK’s biggest value added product, grew by 16%. Some sectors have reversed previous declines, including breakfast cereals as companies have broadened their export activity to non EU customers.

Exports are of key importance in the food and drink manufacturing industry’s drive for growth. The sector has proved resilient during the recession, bucking the general downward trend in manufacturing industries. An exports action plan was recently launched, a joint initiative between industry and Government to work together to increase export potential and remove barriers.

FDF director general Melanie Leech comments: “Whilst the domestic market is growing at a steady rate we are seeing very strong performance from food and drink exports. There remains considerable interest in British heritage brands and around our health and wellbeing innovation. Companies understand the importance of developing new markets, competing successfully in many cases against other experienced exporters in France, Germany and Spain.”

Posted in NewsComments Off on UK Food and Drink Exports Top £12 Billion

Record British Sugar Beet Crop


UK sugar beet growers have once again achieved record average yields, marking the fourth time records have been broken in seven years. The previous record set in 2009 was 71.7 tonnes of sugar beet per hectare, but growers have surpassed this to reach 75.6 t/ha, according to British Sugar.

Each year the UK sugar beet industry jointly invests over £1.8 million in research, development and industry education with the aim of helping growers to increase their competitiveness and profitability whilst simultaneously promoting sustainable and environmentally responsible practices. Priorities for the industry’s research and development programme, which is operated by the British Beet Research Organisation (BBRO), are to increase productivity, reduce inputs and to maximise the environmental benefits obtained by including sugar beet in the arable crop rotation. The programme is a key part of the industry’s strategy as an advanced and sustainable manufacturer in a sector which today provides jobs for 13,000 people across easternEngland.

Colm McKay, British Sugar’s agriculture director, comments: “Achieving this new record yield is a fantastic achievement for our growers and again shows how by working in partnership British Sugar, the NFU and growers are able to deliver real and sustainable efficiency gains.UK sugar beet yields have risen dramatically in recent years and the new BBRO 4×4 yield programme is very much focused on continuing that trend, taking yield to new record levels. The new record is a fitting start to the British beet industry’s centenary year.”

Posted in NewsComments Off on Record British Sugar Beet Crop

UK Sales of Organic Products Fall


Although global sales of organic products grew by 8.8% in 2010 with growth continuing into 2011, UK sales fell by 3.7% last year, according to the latest organic market analysis by the Soil Association.

Strong growth has continued in all other major European organic markets and in the US, the world’s leading organic market. Sales of organic products in China have quadrupled in the last five years, and Brazil is reporting an annual growth rate of 40%. Market analysts predict that organic sales in Asia will grow by 20% a year over the next three years.

In the UK, the main cause of the market’s overall decline was a 5% drop in multiple retail sales, which account for 71.4% of organic food sales. Reduction of choice, lack of communication about the reasons to buy organic products and a lack of investment in own-label organic ranges are the key factors of this decline.

Despite the tough environment, there are a number of UK organic success stories including baby food (+6.6%); lamb (+16%); poultry (+5.8%) and cosmetics (+8.7%). Innovation in retail has benefited the sector with sales through box schemes, home delivery and mail order up by 7.2%.

Dairy products and fresh fruit and vegetables continue to be the most popular organic categories accounting for 29% and 23% of sales respectively in the UK. Local and direct sales of organic fruit and vegetables and supermarket sales of organic fruit held their own during 2011, despite a drop in sales of organic vegetables and salads through multiple retailers.

Outside the retail sector, the restaurant and catering sector grew by 2.4%. Notable successes in 2011 include an increased take-up of organic food in schools, nurseries and hospitals through the Soil Association-led Food for Life Partnership and Food for Life Catering Mark.

Posted in NewsComments Off on UK Sales of Organic Products Fall

£2.4 Billion UK Cider Market is Ripe For Further Development


Cider is the undisputed success story of the UK alcohol category over the past six years, according to new research from Mintel. It has grown its volume sales by just under a quarter (24%) between 2006 and 2011 and over this period its value sales increased from £1.7 billion to £2.4 billion. With pubs seeing record closures since 2008, cider has performed well above the market by recording a quarter (25%) growth in revenue within this channel – albeit a lesser 5% growth in real value sales between 2006 and 2011.

Cider has seen particularly steep growth in the off-trade over the past five years, experiencing a 67% increase in volume sales and doubling its revenues between 2006 and 2011. Cider’s share of supermarket shelf space has grown exponentially over this time and in 2010 accounted for 40.7% of UK cider volume sales.

Mintel’s research shows that in terms of penetration, cider has now become the equal of lager, while its steep sales growth in the past five years is the direct opposite of lager’s equally dramatic sales decline. Indeed, consumer demand has skyrocketed and Mintel’s research reveals that, while 10 years ago, 42% of British consumers were cider drinkers – this has now grown to 47% – despite a decline in the UK adult drinking population from 88% to 82% in the past five years alone. This is compared to 46% of consumers who are lager drinkers today.

Indeed, cider’s success is in stark contrast to wine and beer – the most adversely affected in losing actual drinkers, mainly because they are the biggest categories with more to lose. In terms of actual sales, beer has seen the most dramatic decline, losing £2.2 billion in revenue between 2006 and 2011 mainly due to the dramatic decline of the UK pub sector. Meanwhile, wine has seen a decline in the proportion of UK drinkers from 66% in 2007 to 58% in 2011.

“Cider has been particularly successful at attracting younger drinkers from the ailing lager category, as well as from alcopops and wine,” points out Mintel senior drinks analyst Jonny Forsyth, “due to a combination of impressive innovation and marketing nous.”

Furthermore, the sector has potential for much more growth with Mintel forecasting volume sales to increase by 12% between 2011 and 2016 and value sales by a third (33%) as annual above-inflation duty continues to push up retail sales prices (RSP). “This is in a highly challenging context for alcohol but cider has had the advantage of a lower tax than borne by many competitors which it has invested wisely – especially in constant innovation,” says Jonny Forsyth.

However, there is clearly further opportunity for the sector as cider falls massively behind lager in volume consumed; meaning its revenue of £2.4 billion (in 2011) is a fraction of the UK lager market’s total revenues of £11.4 billion. Today, a third (34%) of alcohol drinkers who do not drink cider claim that it ‘never occurs to them to do so’ rather than them actively disliking it.

 

He continues: “This is a result of cider not being able to compete with lager when it comes to being a ‘session drink’ rather than something you have one or maybe two glasses of, due to the sweetness of its flavour.” It is also less of a mainstream ‘top of mind option’ than lager.

 

If cider can develop its taste profile – and perception – to account for those with less sweet as well as sweeter palates, it has the potential for a broader appeal. “For example, as an alternative to wine during meal occasions as well as providing the ‘all night’ volume appeal of lager – with the result that it can seriously close the gap on lager’s superior revenue,” reasons Jonny Forsyth.

Posted in NewsComments Off on £2.4 Billion UK Cider Market is Ripe For Further Development

Double Digit UK Growth For Fairtrade Products


Estimated retail sales of Fairtrade products in the UK reached £1.32 billion in 2011, a 12% increase on sales of £1.17 billion in 2010. Cocoa and sugar have all seen significant growth with increases respectively of 34% and 21% over 2010. Bananas, coffee, tea are all showing steady growth. Critically, this means that Fairtrade Premiums, the extra that producers receive for business or social development, increased by over 10% in 2011 compared with 2010.

The sugar and confectionery industry is leading the way as businesses are stepping up more than ever to meet sustainability challenges, and deliver a better deal for small-scale farmers and workers, and enable them to take their own steps towards a better future.

“Fairtrade is an example of responsible capitalism in action. We believe that responsible businesses are those who don’t just tackle the company bonuses at the top – but take steps to ensure a fairer deal for the workers and farmers at the bottom of the supply chain too,” says Harriet Lamb, executive director of the Fairtrade Foundation. “The commercial reality is that forward-thinking companies are showing leadership in committing to Fairtrade, realising that, as well as it being the right thing to do, they need to invest in smallholders, developing better, longer-term relationships, to ensure the future supply of commodities like cocoa, coffee, sugar, tea, fruit and more.”

For instance,  Fairtrade’s share of the UK retail bagged sugar market is about to increase to 42%. Morrisons supermarket is converting its entire range of sugar to Fairtrade, supplied by Tate & Lyle Sugars. This newest move by Morrisons builds on existing commitments to Fairtrade sugar by Tate & Lyle, which became the first major retail brand to convert to Fairtrade in 2008, as well as retailers The Co-operative, Marks & Spencer, Waitrose, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and their major suppliers. The ambition is to get to 50% of retail market share.

Brand manufacturers have also committed to Fairtrade sugar – like pioneering chocolate company Divine Chocolate and the nation’s favourite chocolate treats, Cadbury Dairy Milk and Kit Kat four-finger, with Maltesers also switching later this year. And ice-cream companies are also using Fairtrade sugar – like Ben & Jerry’s which has been rolling out a plan to convert all its ice-cream to Fairtrade this year. Many cafe and restaurant chains, and catering suppliers again use Fairtrade sugar, with commitments from Sodexo, Aramark and Compass. The Fairtrade campaign will receive another boost in the summer through the Food Vision for the London 2012 Games, which includes a commitment for caterers to use Fairtrade sugar across all venues.

While sugar is one of the most valuable globally traded agricultural commodities, above coffee and cocoa, too many sugar cane producers remain in dire poverty and sugar production in many parts of the world is becoming unsustainable because of lack of investment in farming methods and support for farming communities. With impending EU sugar reforms looming which will jeopardise access to European markets for some of the world’s poorest sugar producing countries, poverty in sugar growing communities is threatening to increase. The phenomenal growth in Fairtrade in recent years has had a significant impact in helping farmers deal with the challenges they face, and is likely to mitigate some of the worst effects of the EU sugar reforms. Research on Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association (BSCFA), which supplies Tate & Lyle, and Kasinthula Cane Growers Association (KCG) in Malawi, which also supplies the UK Fairtrade sugar market, shows Fairtrade is one of the strongest tools available to farmers, leading to: improved productivity, better environmental management, and social benefits through premiums.

 

Posted in NewsComments Off on Double Digit UK Growth For Fairtrade Products

UK Becomes Net Exporter of Lamb


The UK has become a net exporter of lamb, according to new figures published by EBLEX. Figures show that in 2011 sheep meat exports from the UK saw an 11 per cent increase on the year, totalling 98,500 tonnes product weight. During the same period, UK sheep meat imports fell 13 per cent to 88,000 tonnes product weight. Product weight imports have exceeded exports for the vast majority of the last 50 years.

The rise in exports last year was mainly driven by very strong demand on the continent with a number of EU member states increasingly looking to the UK. Exports to France accounted for 60 per cent with an increase of 3.1 per cent volume. Shipments to Germany and Ireland both increased by around two thirds year-on-year.

Significantly, exports to non-EU markets for the period were up 41 per cent year-on-year at 5,800 tonnes to destinations such as Switzerland, Norway, various African states including South Africa and Congo, Hong Kong and otherFar East markets. Further growth in non-EU markets is also expected to drive an overall increase in sheep meat exports in 2012.

“The UK is a major sheep meat producer, the largest in the EU and third in terms of global trade behind onlyAustralia and New Zealand,” points out Peter Hardwick, head of trade development at EBLEX. “While becoming a net exporter of lamb is a significant milestone for the industry in the UK, exports remain largely limited to trade within the EU with non-EU exports for the period representing 5% to 6% of the total.”

He adds: “The key challenge in terms of lamb exports remains access to target markets such as China, North Africa, South Africa, Russia, the USA and several Middle East markets. Population growth and growing affluence is presenting new opportunities for exports in developing markets in particular but these simply cannot be exploited without market access.”

Posted in NewsComments Off on UK Becomes Net Exporter of Lamb

UK Shoppers Plan and Shop Around More to Secure Best Value


An increasing number of consumers in the UK are now planning before going out to do their food and grocery shopping, compared to three years ago, according to the latest IGD shopper research. Nearly seven in ten shoppers (67%) plan most of their food and grocery shopping before they even get to a store, up from 47% in 2008.

Consumers have also increased their shopping frequency: with half of them (49%) making three or more trips a week to their supermarkets, compared to 39% in 2009.

“Most of us are facing stagnant wage increases but rising costs, such as public transport or fuel prices. As a result, shoppers are investing more of their time in order to secure the best value when buying their food and groceries,” points out Joanne Denney-Finch, chief executive of IGD.

She adds: “They are trying to manage their budgets by making more supermarket trips, but aiming to buy only what they need. By making more frequent visits they are topping up when required and also hoping to secure the best promotions, stocking up when they see ones that appeal to them.”

UK consumers are also doing their main grocery shop less often as other forms of shopping, such as online or convenience stores, increase in popularity.

Posted in NewsComments Off on UK Shoppers Plan and Shop Around More to Secure Best Value

UK Beer Sales Decline Continues But Rate Slows Further


UK beer sales continued to fall in 2011, although at a slower rate than in previous years, according to the latest UK‘Beer Barometer’, released by the British Beer & Pub Association. The BBPA says this decline could be halted – and thousands of jobs saved – if the Government abandons damaging plans for yet-more, above-inflation rises in Beer Tax in the March Budget.

Pub sales declined by 3.4 per cent in 2011, the slowest rate since 2004, but this represents 139 million fewer pints enjoyed in British pubs – a trend also linked to a slowing in the rate of pub closures, which are closely linked to the trend in beer sales. Off-trade beer sales were down 3.7 per cent over the year (136 million pints), the first time since 1996, when the European Championships were held in England, that the off-trade has put in a weaker performance than the on-trade. Total beer volumes fell by 3.5 per cent. The BBPA estimates this has led to an estimated 9,000 jobs disappearing from the sector in 2011 – mostly in B ritain’s pubs.

“The decline in beer sales has slowed, but these figures show the sector cannot afford another round of inflation-busting, Beer Tax hikes in the Budget. This will delay any potential recovery in an iconic and economically vital British industry,” comments Brigid Simmonds, chief executive of the British Beer & Pub Association.

“A change of course, giving brewers and pubs a chance to invest and expand their operations – could create over five thousand jobs in 2012 –which should be a great year for British beer and pubs with the Queen’s Jubilee, Euro 2012, the Olympics and Paralympics. These events could provide a real boost for the UK economy and boost employment – but this will only be possible if the Government reverses planned tax increases and damaging over-regulation.”

Posted in NewsComments Off on UK Beer Sales Decline Continues But Rate Slows Further

Tesco Continues to Decline as Iceland Achieves Record Market Share


Tesco, has seen its share of the UK grocery market fall to below 30% for the first time since May 2005. The UK’s largest supermarket group held 29.9% of the market for the 12 weeks ended 22 January 2012, according to the latest grocery share figures from Kantar Worldpanel. However, while Tesco’s market share dropped, Iceland put in its strongest performance in ten years. The UK grocery market is growing at 4.2% per year which remains below the food inflation rate as shoppers continue to seek value for money.

Edward Garner, director at Kantar Worldpanel, explains: “There were mixed fortunes among the big four supermarkets this month. The completion of the Netto conversion has led to an all-time record performance for Asda, lifting its share from 16.9% a year ago to 17.5% now. Sainsbury’s has also grown its share to 16.7%, consolidating its strongest hold of the market since March 2003.”

He continues: “In contrast, there is considerable pressure on Tesco, with its growth rate of 2.1% only half the total market average. This has caused its share to fall by 0.6 percentage points.Iceland’s 2.1% share is at its highest for ten years as shoppers continue to manage down their spending.”

The figares are promising for potential buyers of Iceland and highlight the importance of a good value-for-money message in the current UK grocery market. Elsewhere, Aldi and Lidl continue their strong run, both increasing their shares to 3.5% and 2.5% respectively. However, the disappearance of Netto means that the size of the total discount sector is relatively unchanged at 6%.

Posted in NewsComments Off on Tesco Continues to Decline as Iceland Achieves Record Market Share

Plans to Export More UK Food and Drink Unveiled


The UK food and drink industry has welcomed a new plan, launched by Food and Farming Minister Jim Paice, which could help hundreds of companies secure sales in lucrative emerging markets. The Exports Action Plan, overseen by a Forum co-chaired by Jim Paice and FDF (Food and Drink Federation) deputy president and chief executive of Nestle UK Paul Grimwood, aims to cut through many of the barriers currently faced by potential exporters and help towards the drive for industry growth of 20% by 2020. Food and drink exports were valued at £10.8 billion in 2010 but are expected to reach almost £12 billion when official 2011 figures are released in March.

The plan identifies a number of actions to boost exports including removing trade barriers; encouraging and putting in place measures to help SMEs export; shifting the focus to emerging economies and highlighting exporting as the key route to growth.

Welcoming the launch of the plan, FDF director general Melanie Leech says: “Food and drink is one of the UK’s key growth sectors and our shared ambition with Government is to grow the sector by 20% by 2020 across both the domestic market and exports. The core of food and drink manufacturing is SMEs and it can be difficult for these companies to access the help and support that they need to take that first step to export. Therefore the opportunity to work in partnership with Defra and UKTI has been embraced by industry.”

Posted in NewsComments Off on Plans to Export More UK Food and Drink Unveiled

UK Poultry Industry Must Increase Consolidation and Efficiency Levels


Despite operating in one of the highest value-add markets in the EU, the UK poultry industry is suffering as a result of high feed prices, limited volume growth and oversupply, according to Rabobank. Increases in domestic demand merely reflect population growth, whilst the UK’s export industry still underperforms by failing to capitalise on a strengthened competitive position, for example depreciation of sterling and new marketing standards for fresh poultry.

Oversupply has placed retailers in the driving seat of the value chain, points out Rabobank. Players without a preferred supplier relationship find themselves having to fight for retail tenders based on price alone (or supplying ingredients to companies with retail access), exacerbating the high levels of competition that arise from feed costs.

Rabobank further suggests that in order to thrive, the UK poultry industry must increase consolidation levels to more closely match that of the retail poultry market; increase efficiency in the supply chain and the rate of structural change; and improve supply discipline.

Posted in NewsComments Off on UK Poultry Industry Must Increase Consolidation and Efficiency Levels

New Year Dieting Dilemma for British Consumers


Despite having the resolve to lose weight, British consumers may not know how to go about it, reveals new research from Mintel. Indeed, just six in 10 (61) UK consumers say that they know what they should and should not eat to lose weight – dropping to only 55% of men.

Furthermore, over one in 10 Brits (12%) say that “I’d like to lose weight, but I don’t know how” and just 41% say that they know how many calories a day they should consume. The number of adults who try to eat a low-fat diet has also dropped between 2008-11, from 44% to for 37% of consumers.

Alex Beckett, senior food analyst at Mintel, comments: “Our research suggests that consumers are going on diets despite being uncertain about what they should eat. It also implies that advice surrounding calorie consumption is failing to register among a sizeable chunk of the population – especially men. This presents manufacturers with an opportunity to take the lead and help consumers understand the importance of calories via educational marketing activity. Consumers’ uncertainty about calories and what foods to avoid to lose weight stems from a wider lack of clarity about what is and isn’t healthy. To excite sales growth, diet food manufacturers must tackle this consumer confusion in a way that all people will relate to.”

Overall, the diet and weight control foods market is currently valued £1.6 million – by 2016, Mintel forecasts the market to grow 7% to £1.7 million. Today, half (50%) of consumers claim that “most of the time” they eat carefully to help control their weight. But in spite of the economic downturn and its aftermath, there has been little change in the number of consumers who have been on a diet, though the share of those who often go on diets has marginally declined, by 0.8 percentage points, between 2007 and 2011. However, the uncertain economic outlook may have an impact on future growth as consumers grow more concerned about their financial situation than their weight. Indeed, Mintel’s research reveals that “my own financial situation” was deemed a personal concern by 59% of adults in 2011 whereas “my health” was deemed a concern by just 41%.

Posted in NewsComments Off on New Year Dieting Dilemma for British Consumers

Kraft Foods to Restructure UK Confectionery Operations


Kraft Foods plans to invest £50 million in its UK confectionery manufacturing operations while cutting the workforce by 200 people. The 200 jobs will be shed at Kraft’s sites at Bournville, Birmingham, Chirk in Wrexham, north Wales, and Marlbrook in Herefordshire. The cuts will be made through redeployment and voluntary redundancies over two years from March 2012.

 

Kraft will invest £6 million in a new biscuits line at its site in Sheffield, which produces sugar confectionery products such as Trebor, Maynards and Bassetts, to facilitate the manufacture of Oreo and BelVita biscuits in the UK for the first time.

 

The remaining investment will be made on a range of projects to upgrade infrastructure, speed up production, reduce waste and improve energy efficiency at three chocolate confectionery manufacturing sites. This includes £13.5 million at Bournville, £3.4 million at Chirk and £2.6 million at Marlbrook.

 

“The ambition is for Bournville, Chirk and Marlbrook to remain at the centre of British food manufacturing and of the Kraft Foods network,” says Neil Chapman, Kraft’s manufacturing director, UK chocolate. “We continue to invest in our people and facilities, so we can increase productivity and transform our business.”

Posted in NewsComments Off on Kraft Foods to Restructure UK Confectionery Operations

Record Results at Greene King


Greene King, the British regional brewer and pub group, has increased operating profit before exceptionals to a record £115.6 million in the 24 weeks to October 16th 2011 on revenue up 9.0% to £527.5 million. Profit before tax and exceptional items rose 5.6% to £77.2 million.

 

Founded in 1799 and headquartered at Bury St Edmunds in England, Greene King currently employs 20,000 people across its main trading divisions of Retail, Pub Partners and Brewing & Brands. It operates 2,410 pubs, restaurants and hotels across England, Wales and Scotland, of which 950 are retail pubs, restaurants and hotels, and 1,460 are tenanted, leased and franchised pubs. Greene King also brews ale brands from its Bury St Edmunds and Dunbar breweries, and is the UK’s leading cask ale brewer and premium ale brewer. Its core ale brands are Greene King IPA, the number one cask ale in the UK, Old Speckled Hen, the top premium ale in the UK, Abbot Ale, the leading premium cask ale in the UK, and Belhaven Best, the number one ale brand in Scotland.

 

Greene King’s development strategy is to increase its exposure to the more attractive categories of the UK pub market, such as food, coffee, wine and cask ale. This entails growing Greene King Retail to around 1,100 sites and improving the overall quality of the estate by targeted acquisitions and investment. Greene King also plans to improve the quality and sustainability of Pub Partners, its tenanted and leased business, by improving the customer offer, investing in core assets and reducing the estate to 1,200 sites. Another element of the strategy involves increasing investment in the company’s core ale brands.

 

As part of its Retail expansion strategy, Greene King completed the acquisition of Capital Pub Company in September for £96.0 million to add 33 high quality largely freehold sites located across London to its estate. In line with its strategy to reduce the size of its tenanted and leased estate, Greene King disposed of 47 non-core pubs and other properties during the first half for £12.8 million.

 

“This is another record set of results for Greene King, delivering strong sales, profit and earnings growth in a difficult consumer environment. Our largest, fastest-growing and increasingly-branded business, Retail, has achieved 10% profit growth, driven both organically and through our Retail expansion strategy. We took further share in the eating out market with 16% food sales growth in the period. Pub Partners continues to reposition itself towards a more sustainable, customer-focused model, while Brewing & Brands has achieved encouraging growth and market outperformance,” says Rooney Anand, chief executive of Greene King. “Falling consumer confidence and the weakening of the UK economic recovery suggest that we will face another tough trading environment in 2012. Despite this, there are still significant opportunities for growth, and we believe our strategy to grow our Retail estate and our share of the eating out market will help us to maintain our track record of strong earnings and dividends.”

Posted in NewsComments Off on Record Results at Greene King

UK Food and Drink Exports Continue to Grow


UK food and non-alcoholic drink exports grew to £5.8 billion in the first half of 2011 – a rise of over 13% on the same period in 2010, according to the Food and Drink Federation (FDF). Exports to the EU increased by 12.6% to £4.4 billion with the majority of markets showing growth, and three of the top five biggest EU markets showing double-digit growth – The Netherlands up 27.8%, Germany up 27.8% and Belgium up 48.5%. Most non-EU regions grew in the first half – North America up 19.1%, Asia up 18.2%, Middle East up 9.4%, Africa up 19.8% andOceania up 12.1%.

 

The fastest growing markets within the list of the top 20 countries are: Polandup 83.2%, Belgium up 48.5%, Sweden up 38.2%, and Saudi Arabia up 34.9. China continues to move ever closer to the top 20 with 52.5% growth in exports in the first half following large increases in the demand for fish and seafood, meat and vegetables.

 

Dairy was the best performing sector in the first half of 2011, as it was for the first half in 2010, with growth of 30.5% to £607.2 million, including a 24.1% increase in cheddar exports. Other sectors with notable growth during this period include: ice cream up 40.1%, fresh fish up 26.1% and coffee up 38.4%.

 

Melanie Leech, director general of the FDF, says: “It’s extremely encouraging to see such strong growth in food and drink exports despite the challenging economic climate affecting several of our key markets, particularly in the EU. These figures indicate that we are on track to achieve our seventh consecutive year of growth and they also illustrate that there is still a huge appetite for our products abroad.”

 

Posted in NewsComments Off on UK Food and Drink Exports Continue to Grow

UK Alcohol Consumption in 2010 Far Lower Than 2004 Peak


UK alcohol consumption in 2010 remains far lower than it was six years ago, with consumption continuing to flat-line. While there was a small 0.6% rise in UK consumption per head in 2010, drinking levels are still 11% lower than they were in 2004 when a marked decline in UK consumption began, according to the latest annual edition of the British Beer & Pub Association’s Statistical Handbook 2011. The data also shows that the UK ranks below the European average in terms of consumption.

 

These hard figures, based on Treasury tax returns, raise serious questions about the debate on rising alcohol consumption, says the BBPA, with chief executive Brigid Simmonds calling for a debate firmly based on the facts when it comes to UK alcohol consumption.

 

Other startling findings in the new statistics are certain to raise concerns about the UK’s approach to the industry. Britons continue to pay punitive taxes on alcohol in comparison with their neighbours, and this ‘tax gap’ is growing – British alcohol taxes are now the second highest in the EU on beer and wine, and fourth highest on spirits. Currently tax policy is a threat to jobs among the million people employed in industry, says the BBPA.

 

This tax gap grew in 2011. UK taxes are now eight times higher than France, and 11 times higher than Germany. UK taxes now outstrip those of traditional high-tax regimes in Scandinavia, with the sole exception of Finland.

 

Other key facts about Britain’s drinking to emerge in the new report include:

* The average price of a British pub pint has broken the three pound barrier – partly due to huge tax increases.

* The North East is the cheapest region for a beer, whereas London is almost 50% more expensive. The cheapest region for a glass of wine in a pub is the Midlands, whereas Wales is cheapest for spirits.

* Off-trade (supermarket and shop) sales of beer now account for almost 50% of total sales.

Posted in NewsComments Off on UK Alcohol Consumption in 2010 Far Lower Than 2004 Peak

UK Consumers Hit Hard by Rising Cost of Food


Rising food prices are forcing UK consumers to make changes to their shopping habits, says Which? A new national survey from the consumer champion found that 84% of people are worried about the rising cost of food – and yet, as figures reveal that the rate of inflation has fallen slightly, food prices continue to climb.

Nine in 10 people have noticed an increase in food prices over the last year, and a third told Which? they had already reduced their spending on groceries this year. 39% are now using discount supermarkets more than they had previously.

People have also changed which foods they are buying to cope with higher food prices, switching to cheaper brands, bigger ‘value’ packs and more economy supermarket own-brands. Shoppers are also putting less organic food in their baskets, with 38% now less likely to buy organic meat, and 43% cutting back on organic fruit and vegetables.

Which? looked at over 200 everyday items from the big four supermarkets and found that consumers can make some simple savings without compromising on taste by swapping some premium products for cheaper foods. Budget versions of fish, cheese, butter, natural yoghurt and dried spaghetti were all recommended to try for everyday use in place of more expensive alternatives.

“Our research shows that despite inflation falling slightly in June, people are still feeling the squeeze from soaring food prices,” says Which? executive director, Richard Lloyd. “People are changing their behaviour and becoming more savvy shoppers when it comes to groceries, but there’s only so much they can do to cut back on the basics. We’ll be investigating supermarket pricing over the coming months, and doing everything we can to give people the advice they need to make those crucial savings.”

Which? is talking to economists, the food industry and government to find out what is really driving the increasing cost of food, and what can be done to address rising prices.

Posted in NewsComments Off on UK Consumers Hit Hard by Rising Cost of Food

UK Consumers ‘Topping Up’ Help Discounters


The latest grocery share figures from Kantar Worldpanel, for the 12 weeks ending 12 June 2011, show the UK grocery market growing at 4.7% per year. However this conceals the sharp slow-down that was expected after the Royal Wedding and Easter boost. Growth for the four weeks ending 15 May 2011 was 7.8% but this has slumped to 2.5% for the latest four weeks.

“Against this murky background, the ‘two nations’ effect continues unabated. Both Aldi and Lidl have grown at nearly 18% year-on-year and hold onto their all-time record shares of 3.4% and 2.6% respectively,” points out Edward Garner, communications director at Kantar Worldpanel.: “Contrastingly, Waitrose posted the next highest growth at 8.9%. Further evidence for the ‘two nations’ trend is demonstrated by double-digit growth of Tesco’s Finest range.”

He continues: “The discounters are attracting some new customers but most of their growth is coming from gaining a greater share of the household shopping list.  Customers are making a main shopping trip to their favourite store and this is then ‘topped up’ with selective shopping at the discounter – this has been dubbed ‘canny shopping’.”

Elsewhere, Asda suffered a downturn this period dropping its share from 16.7% last year to 16.3%, with the discounters bagging a larger share of its shoppers’ expenditure.

Market share for Tesco, Sainsbury and Morrisons remains relatively constant this period at 30.9%, 16.2% and 12.0% respectively.

Edward Garner concludes: “As the household budget remains tight, there is no doubt that many shoppers are adopting coping strategies such as taking advantage of promotional offers or ‘topping up’ at the discounters. However, there is no sign of a return to the rapid growth of budget own-label ranges that we saw in 2008.”

Posted in UncategorizedComments Off on UK Consumers ‘Topping Up’ Help Discounters

Dairy Crest Eyes Yoghurt Market


UK dairy group Dairy Crest is reported to planning to move into the £1.2b yoghurt market either through developing its own business or by acquisition. Dairy Crest had been a key player within the UK yoghurt market through a joint venture with French dairy group Yoplait before selling its stake in 2009. A condition of the deal was that Dairy Crest would not compete in the yoghurt market for two years. That exclusion period expired in March.

“We want to develop a yoghurt business over time – that means developing a brand or going out and acquiring one,” says Mark Allen, chief executive of Dairy Crest. “In terms of our aspirations for the group, we are also looking at other businesses across our dairy categories.” Dairy Crest is involved in the cheese, liquid milk and spreads categories of the UK dairy market and also has a spreads business based in France.

According to Mark Allen, Dairy Crest could easily manage to pay £100m for the right acquisition without compromising its internal net debt targets.

Posted in NewsComments Off on Dairy Crest Eyes Yoghurt Market

SABMiller Opens New £3 Million Research Brewery in the UK


SABMiller today announces that it has commissioned a £3 million global brewing research facility in Nottingham, with the aim of pioneering new developments in the science of brewing.  Housed within the University of Nottingham’s School of Biosciences, the Brewing Research Facility (BRF) will explore new brewing technology and processes, putting the UK at the centre of SABMiller’s global research programme.

The research is intended to lead to advances in the sustainability and resource efficiency of beer production, and could contribute to the development of significant consumer benefits, such as enhanced shelf life. Professor Katherine Smart, the University of Nottingham SABMiller Chair of Brewing Science, will also be based at the facility, where she and her team will focus on process innovation and novel uses of brewing by-products.

“Whilst the recession is leading some businesses to withdraw funding into research and development, our belief is that it is more critical than ever to invest. Significant improvements in water and energy efficiency will only be achieved if we continue to commit resource and capital to driving the necessary degree of change,” comments Graham Mackay, chief executive of SABMiller.

In 2008 SABMiller set an industry leading target to reduce its water use per litre of beer by 25% by 2015; and in 2009 announced that by 2020 it will reduce fossil fuel emissions from its beers by 50% per litre of beer produced.

Posted in NewsComments Off on SABMiller Opens New £3 Million Research Brewery in the UK

More Volume Growth For UK Bottled Water


Overall volume sales in the UK bottled water market grew by 0.7% in 2010 to 2,055 million litres. Zenith International’s 2011 Report on UK Bottled Water also shows retail sizes under 10 litres, which accounted for 83% of the total, achieved 2.4% growth.

In contrast, the bottled cooler market declined by 8.3%, due to ongoing challenging economic conditions and continued loss of business to plumbed-in water coolers, also known as point of use machines.

“There remain five key dynamics in the UK bottled water market at the moment and they are not all pointing in the same direction,” comments Richard Hall, chairman of Zenith. “We have always believed that the benefits of convenient healthy hydration create an underlying momentum towards long term growth. Against that, concerns have been raised about environmental impact, but these are progressively being answered. The economic downturn has been another adverse factor in the past three years, putting greater emphasis on value for money.

He continues: “The weather is also an important variable – very poor in both 2007 and 2008, but somewhat more favourable in 2009 and 2010. Finally, the water cooler segment has changed dramatically – from rapid growth in bottles to even higher consumption from point of use.”.

Amongst other findings of the 2011 Zenith report were:

* Still water was responsible for 86% of 2010 volume and sparkling water 14%.

* Natural mineral water took a 61% share, spring water 28%, purified water 2% and other waters 9%.

* Locally produced waters accounted for 76% and imported waters 24%.

* Bottled water coolers have fallen to 14% of consumption, compared with 21% in 2004.

* Packaged retail volumes are 4% higher than five years ago.

* The most popular retail pack size is 50cl, followed by 2 litre and 1.5 litre.

* The top five retail brands by volume are Evian, Highland Spring, Volvic, Buxton and Aqua-Pura.

Zenith’s forecasts anticipate continuing moderate overall growth, taking sales up a further 14% to 2,340 million litres by 2015.

For further information on the 2011 Zenith Report on UK Bottled Water call Zenith International on +44 (0)1225 327900.

Posted in News, ReportsComments Off on More Volume Growth For UK Bottled Water

Blackstone Eyes Tangerine Confectionery


Private equity firm Blackstone Group is in exclusive talks to acquire Tangerine Confectionery, the largest manufacturer of sugar confectionery and branded popcorn in the UK, in a deal worth more than £100m. Earlier this year, Tangerine was reported to be seeking a new private equity investor to help fund further expansion.

Since its formation in 2005, following the buy-out of Danish company Toms, Tangerine Confectionery has quadrupled in size through both organic growth and acquisition. Current turnover is over £150m and Tangerine Confectionery employs over 1,300 people.

Tangerine has eight production facilities and a distribution depot and owns brands such as Butterkist popcorn, Barratt Sherbet Fountain, Henry Goode’s soft eating liquorice and Princess marshmallows. In addition, Tangerine manufactures own brand products for all of the UK’s leading high street food retailers. Within five years, it aims to be the largest independent manufacturer of confectionery in Europe. Tangerine is owned by private equity firm Growth Capital Partners.

Tangerine recently gained a top 20 place in the latest Sunday Times Deloitte Buyout Track 100. The league table ranks Britain’s 100 private equity-backed companies with the fastest-growing profits (EBITDA) over the last two years of available accounts.

Posted in NewsComments Off on Blackstone Eyes Tangerine Confectionery

Profit Warning From Thorntons


UK confectionery manufacturer and retailer Thorntons has warned that poor trading over the important Easter period coupled with the ongoing challenging retail environment will result in profit before tax and additional impairment charges for the year to June 25th 2011 being in the £3.0m to £4.5m range, significantly below the £6.1 million achieved last year.

In its third quarter trading update, Thorntons reveals that while overall group sales since January were down slightly by 0.7%, the hot weather conditions over the Easter trading period significantly impacted its own stores, franchise and Thorntons Direct channels. Despite two key trading periods, Christmas and Easter, being affected by unprecedented weather conditions, total sales for the year to date increased by 2.9% compared to the same period last year.

“The past quarter has been extremely challenging particularly in our own stores and for franchisees and we foresee the prospect of this weakness in high street footfall and spending continuing. We have taken a number of actions including adjusting our trading strategy and aggressively managing our overhead costs, as well as ensuring that our production is geared to likely demand,” comments Jonathan Hart, chief executive of Thorntons. The confectionery group, which is currently celebrating its 100 anniversary, is in the process of a strategic review of its business to determine ways of meet these challenges.

Posted in NewsComments Off on Profit Warning From Thorntons

Zetar Expands Confectionery Business


Zetar, the UK confectionery and snack foods company, has acquired Derwent Lynton for a maximum consideration of up to £0.8m. Based in Derby, Derwent Lynton is a chocolate confectionery manufacturer specialising in solid milk chocolate and chocolate flavour balls and eggs, hollow milk chocolate shapes, sugar-coated milk chocolate products including eggs & beans and chocolate drops.

Its operations will form part of Zetar’s confectionery division. In the year ended 30th June 2010, Derwent Lynton had sales of £4.2m and an operating profit of £114,000. At 30th June 2010 net assets amounted to £0.6 million.

“The acquisition of Derwent Lynton is complementary to our existing confectionery business, providing access to new customers. Its additional manufacturing capability will also give Zetar the flexibility to offer new product variants to our existing customers,” comments Ian Blackburn, chief executive of Zetar. “This relatively small acquisition is Zetar’s first acquisition since 2007. We are continuing to review other small opportunities.”

Posted in NewsComments Off on Zetar Expands Confectionery Business

Record Fall in UK Food Prices


UK prices of food and non-alcoholic beverages fell by 1.4% between February and March this year compared with a rise of 0.3% between the same two months a year ago, according to the Office for National Statistics. The 1.4% this year was a record fall for a February to March period.

The downward effects were widespread and reflected supermarket led sales this year. The most notable contributions came from fruit where prices fell by 4.7% this year (also a record February to March movement) but rose by 0.7% a year ago, and bread and cereals where prices fell by a record 2.6% this year compared with a fall of 0.2% a year ago

The downward pressure from food and non-alcoholic beverages was a major contributor to a drop in CPI (Consumer Price Index) annual inflation, which was down from 4.4 per cent in February to 4.0% in March.

Posted in NewsComments Off on Record Fall in UK Food Prices

UK Food and Grocery Industry Recovers 115,000 Tonnes of Waste


Participants in a scheme run by ECR (Efficient Consumer Response) UK are well on the way to achieving targets set last autumn to prevent and recover waste in the FMCG supply chain in the UK. By thinking differently about waste when looking at products, packaging design, range and forecasting, consumer goods manufacturers and retailers have prevented 38,000 tonnes of waste from being created in the first place and redirected a further 115,000 tonnes away from landfill and sewer.

In total, 33 leading food and grocery companies announced last autumn they are voluntarily committing to prevent 75,000 tonnes of waste being created by the end of 2012. All signatories are IGD members and leading retailers, manufacturers, wholesalers or food service operators. They have signed up to the target to totally remove this volume of waste from their supply chains.

Joanne Denney-Finch, chief executive of IGD.

The industry has made great strides in recovering waste, rather than disposing of it. To drive this progress even further the companies have pledged to meet an extra target. They have challenged themselves to divert a further 150,000 tonnes of waste from disposal, mainly from landfill and sewerage, to more productive outputs such as anaerobic digestion.

The food and drink manufacturers participating in the scheme include ABF, Bakkavor Group, Coca-Cola Enterprises, Dairy Crest, Gerber Juice Company, H J Heinz, Kraft Foods, Mars Chocolate UK, Molson Coors Brewing Company (UK), Muller Dairy (UK),

Nestle UK, Northern Foods, PepsiCo UK & Ireland, Robert Wiseman Dairies, Unilever UK, United Biscuits, VION Food UK and Warburtons.

“Food and grocery businesses are constantly striving to reduce waste from their operations and the majority of the supply chain’s product and packaging waste is now recycled or recovered, rather than disposed of,” points out Joanne Denney-Finch, chief executive of IGD. “IGD has brought the industry together to draw up, commit to and deliver these challenging targets – and the industry is making great progress.”

Posted in Environment, NewsComments Off on UK Food and Grocery Industry Recovers 115,000 Tonnes of Waste

Boparan Starts Delisting of Northern Foods


Boparan Holdings has started the process of delisting Northern Foods’ shares from the London Stock Exchange after its £340m offer for the UK convenience food company was declared unconditional in all respects. It is anticipated that cancellation of the listing will take effect on or around May 11th 2011. Northern Foods will then be re-registered as a private limited company.

As Boparan, which incorporates the 2 Sisters poultry group, owns or is in receipt of valid acceptances in respect of more than 75% of the existing issued share capital of Northern Foods, the offer had been declared unconditional as to acceptances on March 23rd. Boparan has since received clearance from the Irish Competition Authority for the acquisition which includes Ireland-based pizza producer Green Isle Foods.

The acquisition of Northern Foods will increase Boparan’s turnover to more than £2b and transform the enlarged group into one of the biggest players within the British convenience foods market. Indeed, the combined Boparan Group/Northern Foods business will rival Premier Foods as the UK’s largest domestic food processor.

Posted in NewsComments Off on Boparan Starts Delisting of Northern Foods

Diamond Foods Bags Pringles in $2.4 Billion Deal


US-based snacks group Diamond Foods is acquiring the Pringles business from Procter & Gamble in a deal worth $2.35b. Pringles is the world’s largest potato crisp brand with sales in over 140 countries and manufacturing operations in the US, Europe and Asia. The brand has been built over 45 years with a combination of proprietary products, unique package design and significant advertising investment.

Pringles will join Diamond Foods’ portfolio of brands, which includes Diamond of California and Emerald nuts, Pop Secret microwave popcorn and Kettle potato chips, creating a premium snack focused company with total revenues of approximately $2.4b. Diamond acquired the Kettle Foods businesses in both the US and the UK from private equity group Lion Capital for $615m in cash last year.

The addition of Pringles will more than triple the size of Diamond’s snack business and leverage its sales and distribution infrastructure through a more than doubling of snack sales in the US and UK, which are Pringles’ two largest markets.

The deal will also allow Diamond to gain a broader global manufacturing and supply chain platform, with access into key growth markets around the world, including Asia, Latin America and Central Europe. International sales will account for approximately 49% of the enlarged Diamond’s revenues on a pro forma basis.

Diamond has a history of building, acquiring and developing brands through product and package innovation, efficient distribution and brand investment. The company’s total revenues have doubled and earnings per share have grown more than four-fold in the past five years.

“Pringles is an iconic, billion dollar snack brand with significant global manufacturing and supply chain infrastructure,” says Michael Mendes, chairman, president and chief executive of Diamond Foods. “Our plan is to build upon the brand equity Pringles has established in over 140 countries. This strategic combination will create an independent, global leader in the snack industry with a focus on quality and innovative products. Not only is this combination immediately accretive, it also creates a platform that we believe will allow us to build shareholder value for years to come.”

Under the terms of a split-merge transaction, P&G shareholders can elect to exchange P&G shares for shares of Diamond. The value of the deal is $2.35b, comprising $1.5b in Diamond common stock for approximately 57% of the combined company, and the assumption of $850m of Pringles debt. Diamond’s existing shareholders would continue to own approximately 43% of the combined company.

Diamond expects to incur one-time costs of approximately $100m related to the transaction over the next two years. P&G also will provide Diamond transition services for up to 12 months after closing.

Posted in NewsComments Off on Diamond Foods Bags Pringles in $2.4 Billion Deal

UK Food Inflation Slows Sharply


UK food inflation fell to 4.0% in March from 4.5% in February, according to the BRC-Nielsen Shop Index. Non-food inflation slowed marginally to 1.5% from 1.6% in February and overall shop price inflation slowed to 2.4% in March from 2.7% the previous month.

”Global commodities are still exerting considerable upward pressure on retailers’ costs, but a greater intensity of promotions has led to a fall in year-on-year food inflation which will come as a great relief to hard-pressed families. Over the shorter term, food was actually cheaper in March than February,” comments Stephen Robertson, director general of British Retail Consortium. “It’s a clear demonstration of competition in the retail sector keeping costs down for shoppers. The proportion of groceries going through the tills on promotion has reached a new all-time high of 40 per cent.”

Mike Watkins, senior manager, Retailer Services, Nielsen, remarks: “After almost a year of commodity and other inflationary costs progressively pushing up shop prices, its good to see the pace of retail price increases slow a little. However it’s too soon to say that the worst is behind us as retail sales have weakened across both food and non-food in recent weeks as shoppers react to falling disposable income. Retailers have had to respond with even more offers and discounts as the cost of living remains one of the top concerns of shoppers.”

Posted in NewsComments Off on UK Food Inflation Slows Sharply

UK Organic Sales Fall


Sales of organic products in the UK fell 5.9% to £1.73b in 2010 with the rate of decline slowing significantly throughout the year, according to the Organic Market Report just published by the Soil Association. The outlook for 2011 is cautiously optimistic.

Despite fragile consumer confidence in the wider economy, the report shows positive signs of resilience and recovery for the organic sector overall. The biggest success stories were sales of organic beef (up 18%), organic baby food (up 10.3%) and organic textiles (up 7.8%).

The Organic Market Report shows that shoppers spend more than £33m a week on all things organic, and that 86% of households now buy organic products. Dairy products and fresh fruit and vegetables are the most popular categories, accounting for 30.5% and 23.2% of sales respectively.

Sales of a wide range of products started growing again in 2010, including butter, yoghurt, beer and cider, herbs and spices, pulses and packet soups.

Although sales through multiple retailers fell by 7.7%, to £1.25b, Waitrose and Marks & Spencer anticipate modest growth for 2011, while Tesco, Sainsbury, Morrisons and the Co-operative predict level sales year on year. Multiple retail accounted for 72.3% of the organic market in 2010. Sales through independent retailers and catering accounted for the remaining 27.7% of the market, falling by 0.75% to £480m.

Organically managed land decreased by 0.6% to 738,709 hectares and now represents 4.2% of UK farmland, equivalent to more than the combined area of Somerset and Wiltshire. The number of UK organic producers fell by 4.2% to 7,567 in 2010, from a record high of 7,896 the previous year.

Production of organic vegetables and organic milk both fell in 2010 but cereal production is on the increase, buoyed by high grain prices and strong demand for milling wheat.

Poultry and egg production are set to fall in 2011 because of a combination of faltering consumer demand, high feed prices and the cost implications of impending changes to the EU organic regulations.

Roger Mortlock, deputy director of the Soil Association, comments: “There is powerful evidence that consumers who care about the diverse benefits of organic will stay loyal, even during these tough economic times. Given the current uncertainties in the UK and global economy, it would be rash to make any predictions for the future organic market. But the instability caused by climate change, population growth and resource depletion mean that business as usual in food and farming is not an option.”

Posted in NewsComments Off on UK Organic Sales Fall

Produce World to Launch Green Giant Fresh in the UK


Fresh produce company Produce World is launching the Green Giant Fresh product line in the UK. The canned range of Green Giant sweet corn and speciality vegetables has been available in the UK since 1960.

In North America, selected growers have been offering retailers premium Green Giant Fresh fruit and vegetables for over 15 years and currently represent nearly one-third of the total annual brand value across all product ranges. Recently, a group of European based produce companies have developed a European Economic Interest Group and partnerships to offer Green Giant Fresh on a range of premium fresh produce in the UK, Spain and other parts of Europe under license through General Mills.

The Green Giant Fresh product line will be offered in the UK by Produce World in conjunction with key product partners, Unica and El Dulze.

“A vegetable brand with 96% consumer recognition in the UK, positions Green Giant Fresh in a class of its own. Our research shows, our line of premium Green Giant Fresh vegetables will create incremental consumer interest for participating retailers,” says Jonathan Tole, business unit director with Produce World. “One-in-four UK households buy Green Giant products today. Green Giant Fresh will provide an appealing new range of products to help families get their five recommended daily servings from a trusted and familiar premium vegetable brand.”

Produce World’s complementary range of Green Giant Fresh products are planned to include broccoli, carrots, tomatoes, peppers and lettuces. It is anticipated that a complete line of products using the Green Giant brand will be on shelves by the end of the first quarter of 2011.

Posted in NewsComments Off on Produce World to Launch Green Giant Fresh in the UK

UK Soft Drinks Sales Exceed £9 Billion Mark


The UK soft drinks market has once again demonstrated its resilience in spite of tough economic conditions, growing to £9.4b in value last year, with take-home sales up 6.6% to £6.6b and the on-premise category edging up 1% to reach £2.8b.

The newly published 2011 Britvic Soft Drinks Report also reveals that the impulse channel grew by 7% in value, reversing a 3% decline the previous year, and the food service channel reversed its 2009 decline, with sales up 9.4% in 2010 to £284m. Indeed, impulse sales growth overtook the grocery multiples, as more consumers took advantage of ‘top up shops’ and single serve formats became more popular. Cola remains the largest sub-category in the total market and grew substantially across all channels in 2010.

“2010 was another a tough year for UK consumers, but soft drinks remained resilient. Although people were watching their pounds, they were still willing to spend a comparatively small amount on a soft drink, whether it’s at the train station on the way to work or at their local retailer on the way home from school,” comments Murray Harris, customer management director at Britvic. “The increase in ‘top up’ shopping and single serve soft drinks sales has been great news for convenience retailers after they endured a difficult 2009, but we’ve yet to see a similar turn-around in the on-premise channel.”

He adds: “It’s fair to say the on-trade has had a tough time over the last 12 months, but soft drinks sales did hold up with cola, lemonade and flavoured carbonates all remaining popular with consumers. Ultimately, consumers pay more for soft drinks in pubs than they would from their local supermarket, so the experience they receive needs to be worth the higher price. We’ve recently introduced a new range of 300ml glass carbonates in Pepsi, 7Up and Tango, which gives pubs and bars a point of difference and offers consumers more choice.”

Posted in NewsComments Off on UK Soft Drinks Sales Exceed £9 Billion Mark

UK Food Manufacturing Industry Faces Skills Shortage


The Food and Drink Federation has warned that the UK food industry’s future sustainability is highly dependent on the skills of its workforce and that the industry needs to improve its image if it wants to attract talent to the sector.

FDF has launched a new careers campaign ‘Taste Success – A Future in Food’, which aims to show potential entrants that the UK food and drink manufacturing sector is a ‘career of first choice’ providing real opportunities for individuals to build their own skills and experience as well as a long-term rewarding career.

As part of its campaign FDF is exhibiting at careers conferences to better inform young people about the exciting career opportunities on offer to them, as well as producing careers materials for schools and further education establishments.

The future sustainability of the food industry is highly dependent on the skills of its workforce and their ability to innovate. With over a third of the work force due to retire in the next 20 years, and the current shortage of qualified food scientists and technologists, support for promotion of careers is vital to attract talent to the sector and enable future growth.

“Like many other manufacturing sectors, the food and drink industry suffers from a poor image against other career choices. Figures show that one in five food scientist and food technologist vacancies remain hard to fill which is a threat to our future ability to innovate,” explains Angela Coleshill, FDF’s director of competitiveness. “FDF is committed to addressing these issues by working with our members and key stakeholders to raise our sector’s profile as a career destination of choice for school leavers and graduates.”

Posted in NewsComments Off on UK Food Manufacturing Industry Faces Skills Shortage

New Report Highlights Water and Carbon Impact of Wasted Food


The water and carbon footprint of wasted household food in the UK has been identified for the first time, highlighting the major environmental consequences of food waste, both domestically and globally.

The report, ‘The Water and Carbon Footprint of Household Food Waste in the UK’ – jointly published by WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme) and WWF found that water used to produce food that householders in the UK then waste represents 6% of the UK’s water requirements, (6.2 billion cubic metres per year), a quarter of which originates in the UK.

The 6.2 billion cubic metres of water used to produce the 5.3 million tonnes of food that householders waste every year is nearly twice the annual household water usage of the UK.

The same wasted food also represents 3% of the UK’s domestic greenhouse gas emissions (14 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent) with further emissions arising abroad (6 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent). In total, these greenhouse gas emissions are the same as those created by 7 million cars each year.

The work follows reports in 2008 and 2009 by WWF and WRAP which identified that UK households throw away 8.3 million tonnes of food and drink waste every year, 60% of which (5.3 million tonnes) could have been eaten. By discarding that food, the water and energy that was used to grow and process those foods is not recovered, giving off greenhouse gas emissions that could have been avoided.

The report also goes on to identify the countries of origin for wasted food and looks at the context of water scarcity in those regions in the shape of case studies.

Liz Goodwin, chief executive of WRAP, says the new findings provide fresh context for the organisation’s work to prevent food waste: “These figures are quite staggering. The water footprint for wasted food – 280 litres per person, per day – is nearly twice the average daily household water use of the UK, 150 litres per person per day.”

She continues: “The greenhouse gas emissions associated with food waste are greater than those already saved by the total amount of household recycling that takes place in the UK. Although greenhouse gas emissions have been widely discussed, the water used to produce food and drink has been overlooked until recently. However, growing concern over the availability of water in the UK and abroad, and security of supply of food, means that it is vital we understand the connections between food waste, water and climate change.”

Some progress has already been made. Through WRAP’s work with retailers, food and drink manufacturers and local authorities, 670,000 tonnes of food waste were prevented between 2005 and 2009. That means the waste of 670 billion litres of water has been avoided, but clearly still more needs to be done.

Dr David Tickner, head of Freshwater Programmes at WWF-UK, comments: “Responsibility for improving the way in which water is managed lies primarily with governments and other stakeholders in affected river basins. But companies, policy-makers and consumers in the UK can help.  Put simply, wasting less food can, in a small but very significant way, help dry rivers to flow again.”

Posted in Environment, NewsComments Off on New Report Highlights Water and Carbon Impact of Wasted Food

Resilient Performance by Shepherd Neame


Shepherd Neame, the UK regional brewer and pub operator, has increased turnover by 1.6% to £61.7m for the 26 weeks ended December 25th 2010. Operating profit was flat at £6.4m. The company’s beer volume grew by 0.6% as its key brands such as Spitfire, Bishops Finger and Asahi performed well despite the tough market environment.

“This has been another good performance for the company. We have achieved record turnover and record total beer volume against a background of adverse weather conditions and pressure on disposable income,” says Miles Templeman, chairman of Shepherd Neame. “2011 will place a further squeeze on consumers’ disposable income through tax rises and inflationary pressures, but we remain focused on driving the business for the long term, on developing the quality of our brands and pubs and on maintaining our strong cash generation.”

Posted in NewsComments Off on Resilient Performance by Shepherd Neame

UK Gluten and Wheat Free Market Now Worth £120 Million


The gluten and wheat free market in the UK is continuing to show strong growth. Latest Kantar Worldpanel data (52 w/e 26 December 2010), commissioned by gluten free brand leader DS-gluten free, shows that the total gluten and wheat free market is now worth more than £120.2m – up 14.8% year on year. Bread, sweet biscuits and cakes are proving the top drivers of value sales, with frozen gluten and wheat free products also performing well.

“It’s great to see the market continuing to grow at such a rapid pace, and brands such as DS-gluten free are still performing incredibly well. In fact, we continue to be the number one brand in the UK, and second in the overall gluten free sector – which includes both brands and private label,” says Emma Herring, retail brand manager at DS-gluten free. “There’s tremendous potential for retailers to tap further into this market. This is definitely going to be another exciting year for the gluten free sector, and with one in 100 people in the UK now thought to have coeliac disease, and many others deciding to follow a gluten free diet for lifestyle reasons, there’s real potential for continued and significant sector growth”

DS gluten free is a Nutrition Point brand. Established in 1999, Nutrition Point has two other gluten free brands in the UK, Glutafin, which is available on prescription, and Trufree, which offers a range of wheat and gluten free products in the supermarkets.

Nutrition Point is part of Dr Schar, the leading manufacturer of gluten free foods in Europe. The Dr Schär Group is based in South Tyrol in Italy. It operates dedicated gluten free manufacturing facilities in Italy and Germany.

Posted in NewsComments Off on UK Gluten and Wheat Free Market Now Worth £120 Million

UK Online Grocery Sales to Double by 2015


More than a quarter (27%) of UK food and grocery manufacturers say they would consider building their own e-stores in the future in a bid to engage directly with shoppers online, according to research published by food and grocery analysts IGD. The research also reveals that the value of online grocery shopping is forecast to double by 2015 with sales set to reach £9.9b – twice its value of £4.8b at the end of 2010.

Sales online continue to grow at a faster rate than any other sector in the grocery market, with growth of 21.4% last year. In 2010, the online grocery market accounted for 3.2% of total grocery spend in the UK and is projected to increase to 5.4% by 2015.

More than two-fifths (43%) of manufacturers expect up to 10% of their total revenue to come from the online channel by 2015 – more than double the number (18%) currently generating this revenue level.

Joanne Denney-Finch, chief executive of IGD.

For 59% of UK shoppers, the removal of the delivery charge continues to be seen as the single most important factor that would drive them to shop online for their groceries. 13% of shoppers expect to use online grocery shopping more in the next year, rising to 24% of 18-34 year olds. 88% state that reliable delivery is the top factor driving online store choice, followed by suitable delivery slots (86%) and ease of setting up the order (84%).

“The world around us is changing and technology is leaping ahead. You only need to look at the last ten years to see that the digital age is evolving at an incredible pace,” remarks Joanne Denney-Finch, chief executive of IGD. “The strong growth predicted for the online grocery channel presents an opportunity for companies of all sizes and types – retailers, manufacturers, local producers – to meet the needs of today’s multi-channel shopper. It is encouraging to see manufacturers looking to flex their business models, participate in the digital explosion and engage with consumers in different ways.

Posted in NewsComments Off on UK Online Grocery Sales to Double by 2015

Another Successful Year For Nichols


UK-based soft drinks group Nichols increased profit before tax (pre-exceptional) by 23% to £15.1m on sales up 16% to £83.9m for the year ended December 31st 2010. Nichols’ brand portfolio includes Vimto, which is sold in over 65 countries, and Sunkist and Panda, which are sold in the UK. The company operates in both the ‘stills’ and ‘carbonated’ drinks categories and also in the soft drinks on dispense market, where its brands include Cabana, Ben Shaws and Dayla.

Whilst the UK soft drinks market grew by 7%, the group’s domestic sales increased by 15% to £69m, buoyed by the launch of Cherry Vimto, which delivered incremental sales of £3.7m. Nichols’ international revenues increased by 24% to £15.4m, with significant growth coming from Africa (+56%) and the Middle East (+13%). The overseas operations are a significant contributor to the group, hedging against the uncertainties of the UK economy and diluting the impact of raw material inflation, currently affecting the food and drink industry in the UK.

Sales of soft drinks on dispense increased by 8%, largely as a result of the acquisition of the Ben Shaws dispense business in January 2010. Nichols has now announced that it is strengthening its dispense business by acquiring the remaining 50% stake in Dayla Liquid Packing (Dayla).

“2010 was another outstanding year, despite the difficult economic environment,” says John Nichols, non-executive chairman of Nichols. “We made excellent progress and were well ahead of 2009, which was also a record year for us and therefore a tough target to beat. In a challenging consumer market, once again we have delivered double digit growth in volume, revenue and profitability. We remain confident in producing further profitable growth in 2011 and beyond.”

Posted in NewsComments Off on Another Successful Year For Nichols

UK Grocery Market Growth Slows as Consumers Show Caution


The latest grocery share figures from Kantar Worldpanel, for the 12 weeks ending 20th February 2011, show that the market is subdued as shoppers watch their pennies. Overall market growth slowed slightly this period to 3.9% compared to 4.2% last month. However, both Sainsbury at 5.2% and Morrisons at 4.5% outperformed, growing ahead of the market.

Sainsbury’s market share moved up to 16.5%, compared to 16.3% a year ago, which continues its strong run, gaining share every month since March 2009. Morrisons maintains its 12.3% market share from the same period last year. Tesco and Asda performed slightly behind the market, with share now standing at 30.3% and 16.9% respectively.

Fraser McKevitt, retail analyst at Kantar Worldpanel, comments: “Waitrose followed the market trend of slightly slower growth this period, but still posted increased sales of 6.6% compared to a year ago, taking its market share to 4.4%, the highest ever recorded by the retailer.”

2011 has seen a return to strong growth from the discounters, both Aldi and Lidl delivering double digit growth, well-ahead of their performances in 2010. Aldi now holds 3.1% of the market, up from 2.8% last year, and Lidl holds 2.4%, up from 2.2%.

Fraser McKevitt explains: “With economic uncertainty increasingly in the news it is no surprise that shoppers are being cautious with their spending. However, while the discounters are performing well this is not due to an increase in new shoppers, but rather because their existing customers are spending more with them. The majority of people continued to seek value through promotions in the mainstream retailers, rather than trading down to the discounters.”

The Co-operative’s market share stabilised at 6.7% this month, however this is a drop from 7.4% a year ago. Iceland’s market share remained at 2.0%, but it will find substantial market growth challenging in the next few months because of strong comparative numbers in 2010.

Posted in NewsComments Off on UK Grocery Market Growth Slows as Consumers Show Caution

Boparan Now Holds 34% of Northern Foods as Offer Deadline Extended


Boparan Holdings, headed by chicken business entrepreneur Ranjit Singh Boparan, now controls more than a third of Northern Foods, the leading UK convenience food group. On January 21st 2011, Boparan made a £342m offer for Northern Foods, which was recommended by the board of Northern Foods in preference to an earlier offer by Greencore involving an all share merger of equals.

By the end of January, Boparan, which had already assembled a 6.6% stake in Northern Foods prior to its offer, had increased its shareholding to 11.4%. Boparan now has in aggregate acquired or agreed to acquire or received valid acceptances representing approximately 34.4% of Northern Foods’ shares. Boparan has extended its offer deadline from March 2nd until 1.00 pm on March 16th 2011.

The board of Greencore has noted the announcement by Boparan relating to its cash offer for Northern Foods and the extension of the deadline. Greencore has confirmed it is still considering its options in relation to Northern Foods and a further announcement will be made in due course.

Greencore has been reported to have been seeking a partner to make an improved offer for Northern Foods with a cash element involved. It is understood to have held discussions on this matter with a number of major food groups and private equity firms.

Posted in NewsComments Off on Boparan Now Holds 34% of Northern Foods as Offer Deadline Extended

Tesco Initiates UK Price War With Asda


Tesco has launched a £200m campaign to lower prices on more than 1,000 everyday items – from fruit and vegetables to bread, meat and medicines. Customers are being invited to compare Tesco’s prices to those at other supermarkets using Price Check. If Tesco is not cheaper than main rival Asda, the customer can claim back double the difference.

Coping with the cost of living – from utility bills and tax rises to the weekly shop – is occupying the minds of UK consumers, according to Tesco’s latest research. Tesco’s research, which is fully representative of the retailer’s 20 million UK customers, shows that headlines about rising transport costs, news on unemployment and policy announcements are the main cause of anxiety. However, 51% say that they expect their household finances to improve or stay the same.

Posted in NewsComments Off on Tesco Initiates UK Price War With Asda

UK Fairtrade Sales Break £1 Billion Barrier


UK sales of Fairtrade products soared by 40% in 2010 to an estimated retail value of £1.17b compared with £836m in 2009. UK shoppers are continuing to embrace Fairtrade, showing no downturn on ethical values despite the tough economic times.

Figures released by the Fairtrade Foundation reveal that every day in the UK, some 9.3 million cups of Fairtrade tea, 6.4 million cups of Fairtrade coffee, 2.3 million chocolate bars, 530,000 cups of Fairtrade drinking chocolate and 3.1 million Fairtrade bananas are consumed.

Sales of Fairtrade chocolate confectionery have more than quadrupled in 2010 to an estimated retail value of £342m, making chocolate the leading Fairtrade product by value in the UK. Sales of Fairtrade drinking chocolate have nearly trebled to an estimated retail value of £34m.

Smaller categories of Fairtrade products are also showing growth – Fairtrade spices increased 30% over the last year, and over 1 million cosmetic products were sold. Sales of some categories have had flat or declining sales – for example, fresh fruit and flowers.

Every day in the UK, 3.1 million Fairtrade bananas are consumed.

“It is fantastic to break the first billion,” says the Fairtrade Foundation’s executive director, Harriet Lamb. “Fairtrade is going from strength to strength because the public want it, it makes business sense, and most importantly because it’s working for the millions of farmers, workers and their families who see Fairtrade as their lifeline in these tough times. They’ll be cheering to know that UK shoppers and businesses still care. The challenges of global poverty and inequality are more serious than ever, especially for the farmers who grow the coffee, tea, bananas, rice or cotton on which we depend here in the UK. This first billion shows the potential for change. If the public, businesses and producers can now build on that momentum, Fairtrade could get to £2 billion by the end of 2012 . It’s ambitious, but it really would be game changing.”

Support for Fairtrade in local communities continues to surge in the UK, where the Fairtrade Mark is recognised by 74% of the public. Vibrant community campaigns in more than 500 Fairtrade Towns across the country, along with thousands of schools and universities, faith groups, are helping the public make a personal and local connection to Fairtrade.

Responding to that public support, major company moves to Fairtrade which have contributed to 2010 growth figures include Cadbury Dairy Milk, all Starbucks espresso-based coffee, Nestle’s four-finger KitKat, Sainsbury’s tea, coffee and sugar, Morrison’s roast and ground coffee, Tesco Finest Tea and Tate & Lyle retail sugar. And the growth is set to continue throughout 2011 with Ben & Jerry’s still rolling out its commitment to make every ingredient used, from sugar to nuts to cocoa, Fairtrade that can be Fairtrade in the UK by the end of 2011, and Green & Black’s conversion of its entire range of chocolate bars and beverages in the UK to 100% Fairtrade, by the end of this year.

Fresh commitments include the Co-operative’s announcement to convert all commodities that can be Fairtrade to Fairtrade by 2013, starting with bananas; Waitrose’s conversion of the majority of Waitrose Tea to Fairtrade as well as several products in the Duchy Originals range; and the spice and herb company Schwartz’s announcement that it is launching four new Fairtrade herbs – basil, mint, marjoram and dill – later in the year. Meanwhile, Aldi is launching its first Fairtrade product range, including bananas, coffee, tea and chocolate; and Sainsbury’s will offer a new coffee for Comic Relief from the Democratic Republic of Congo, aimed at helping farmers in a conflict-ridden land.

The pioneering Fairtrade companies have also introduced new products including the first Fairtrade raisins from Afghanistan launched by Tropical Wholefoods to support small-scale farmers in the Parwan province.

Against a picture of overall growth, however, some product categories have struggled in the midst of recession. In particular, Fairtrade cotton sales have declined in the past year, as ethical ranges struggle to compete with a continuing trend for cheap, fast fashion.

Posted in NewsComments Off on UK Fairtrade Sales Break £1 Billion Barrier

Tangerine Looks For Investment to Fund Further Expansion


Blackpool-based Tangerine Confectionery, the largest British manufacturer of sugar confectionery and branded popcorn in the UK, is reported to be seeking a new private equity investor to help fund further expansion. Since its formation in 2005, following the buy-out of Danish company Toms, Tangerine Confectionery has quadrupled in size through both organic growth and acquisition. Current turnover is over £150 million and Tangerine Confectionery employs over 1,300 people.

The company now has eight production facilities and a distribution depot and owns brands such as Butterkist popcorn, Barratt Sherbet Fountain, Henry Goode’s soft eating liquorice and Princess marshmallows. In addition, Tangerine manufactures own brand products for all of the UK’s leading high street food retailers. Within five years, it aims to be the largest independent manufacturer of confectionery in Europe. Tangerine is owned by private equity firm Growth Capital Partners.

Tangerine recently gained a top 20 place in the latest Sunday Times Deloitte Buyout Track 100. The league table ranks Britain’s 100 private equity-backed companies with the fastest-growing profits (EBITDA) over the last two years of available accounts.

Posted in NewsComments Off on Tangerine Looks For Investment to Fund Further Expansion

Challenging Year For Carlsberg


Reflecting a highly challenging year in Russia, its largest market, Carlsberg increased net revenue by 1% to DKr60.05b (Eur8.0b) and operating profit by 9% to DKr10.25b in 2010. However, revenue fell 3% organically during the year with volume down 2% and a 1% decline in price/mix. Favourable currency factors were responsible for 8% of the rise in operating profit and organic growth was 1%.

Net profit grew by 49% to DKr5.35b but included special items of DKr598m related to step acquisitions. The group’s beer volumes were down by 1% to 114m hectolitres and the organic volume decline was 2%.

Carlsberg is focusing intensively on driving profitable market share growth, while simultaneously improving efficiencies across the group. This is a continuous process and an integrated part of the Carlsberg strategy and business model. During 2010, Carlsberg significantly intensified investments behind its key brands, including innovations, new products, media, digital, consumer and customer activities. The Danish brewer also invested in innovations to be launched in 2011 and beyond.

Market Trends

According to Carlsberg, overall beer market trends improved in 2010 compared to 2009. The overall beer market in Northern & Western Europe declined by an estimated 2-3% – a slightly improved trend compared to the estimated 5% decline in 2009.

Jorgen Buhl Rasmussen, chief executive of Carlsberg.

Carlsberg continued to strengthen its position in the UK growing value and volume market share in both the on-trade and off-trade channels. In a UK market, which declined by 4%, the group grew volumes and added 110bps to take its market share to 15.4%.

The Russian market was stronger than anticipated. At the beginning of the year, Carlsberg expected a market decline of low double-digit percentages following the sharp rise in excise duty in January 2010, as consumer price increases of approximately 25% were needed to offset the duty increase. However, due to favourable weather conditions, overall faster and ongoing recovery of the Russian economy and improving consumer sentiment, the Russian beer market picked up in the second half of 2010 leading to a decline of approximately 4% for the year.

The other Eastern European markets improved significantly compared to 2009. The Asian beer markets, which were largely unaffected by the economic crisis in 2009, continued their very strong growth pattern.

“2010 was an extraordinary year for the group due to the substantial excise duty increase in our largest market and we are very pleased with the strong 2010 performance. The improved market share in a large part of our businesses demonstrates our ability to strongly execute on our plans,” comments Jorgen Buhl Rasmussen, chief executive of Carlsberg. “For 2011 we believe market dynamics will improve slightly, not least in Eastern Europe where we anticipate the Russian market to return to growth. In our efforts to balance profitable growth with continuous efficiency improvements we will roll out innovations and market tools to support growth during 2011.”

In 2011, Carlsberg is projecting low single-digit decline in Northern & Western European beer markets, growth of 2-4% in Russia and continued growth in key markets across Asia. The impact from increased input costs will be mitigated by higher sales prices in all regions. In Eastern Europe, the input impact will be higher than the group average and consequently operating profit margin in the region will be impacted negatively for 2011.

For 2011, Carlsberg expects market share growth in markets representing two-thirds of its business, high single-digit percentage growth in operating profit and adjusted net profit growth of more than 20%.

Posted in NewsComments Off on Challenging Year For Carlsberg

Plans For UK’s Largest Dairy Farm Withdrawn


Plans to set up the UK’s largest dairy farm in Lincolnshire have been withdrawn by applicant Nocton Dairies. The company has now formally withdrawn its application for planning permission to build a 3,770 cow dairy farm at Nocton Heath due to the response of the Environment Agency, which has maintained its objection to the proposal.

The Environment Agency’s grounds are lack of information about risks posed to the aquifer underlying the site and uncertainty about the extent of the benefits associated with the change in land use. According to Nocton Dairies, despite its best efforts to address these concerns, including an additional investment of £4m in engineering the management of the waste to unprecedented standards, lack of relevant research has made it impossible to provide the reassurances required by the Environment Agency that livestock farming is an appropriate use of land at the site.

Nocton Dairies has stated that it will not be selling its farm at Nocton and is currently considering its options.

Posted in NewsComments Off on Plans For UK’s Largest Dairy Farm Withdrawn

Premier Foods in the Red But Debt Level Reduced


Premier Foods, the UK’s largest food producer, has reported a pre-tax operating loss of £98m, against a profit of £42m in 2009, on a continuing basis for 2010 after a £125m goodwill impairment at its Brookes Avana own label bakery and prepared food business. Group turnover dipped by 3.5% to £ 2.57b due to lower non branded sales. Although volume was up 3.1%, the value of branded sales was relatively flat at £1.67b, down 0.3% on 2009.

Group trading profit edged up 0.6% to £311m, as both the grocery division and the Hovis business recorded improved trading profit but trading profit fell by £15m at Brookes Avana. Indeed, the most dramatic effect of last year’s pricing and commodity inflation was reflected in plunge in profitability at Brookes Avana. Premier is currently talking constructively with UK retailer Marks & Spencer to agree new product ranges and revised pricing and supply arrangements which will be able to return the business to profitability in 2011.

The debt mountain was reduced by £103m to £1.26b during the year but the proceeds from the recently agreed disposals of Premier’s canning and meat-free businesses will further cut pro forma net debt below £900m.

Outlook

Robert Schofield, chief executive of Premier Foods.

Promotional activity in its retail markets increased significantly in 2010 but Premier does not expect it to continue to escalate at the same rate in 2011. Commodity inflation has been running at mid single digit percentages, requiring Premier to increase prices for its products. At this level, the UK food group believes that inflation is manageable.

Premier’s focus in 2011 will be to continue to take branded market volume share, while growing its percentage of grocery branded sales from new and improved products as its innovation pipeline matures. It will also continue to drive for efficiencies; and to generate at least £80m of recurring cash flow.

“Our business has proved resilient, with branded volume market share growth, increased margin from procurement and manufacturing efficiency and lower operating expenses. There is more to do in each of these areas and we have aligned the organisational structure behind the strategy of growing our brands. We would expect our focus to enable the group to show progress from our new base after the disposals without a further deterioration in the consumer environment,” comments Robert Schofield, chief executive of Premier Foods.

Posted in NewsComments Off on Premier Foods in the Red But Debt Level Reduced

Greencore Still Considering its Options on Northern Foods


In response to recent press speculation about whether or not it will amend its offer for Northern Foods, the board of Greencore has confirmed that it is still considering its options. Dublin-based Greencore, which is one of the UK’s leading convenience food groups, had proposed an all-share merger of equals with British rival Northern Foods. However, Boparan Holdings, controlled by chicken business entrepreneur Ranjit Singh Boparan, surpassed Greencore’s bid by making a cash offer of 73p a share for Northern Foods.

Boparan’s £342m offer has been recommended by the board of Northern Foods in preference to Greencore’s offer. Boparan has now built up an 11.4% stake in Northern Foods.

Patrick Coveney, chief executive of Greencore.

Greencore is reported to be seeking a partner to make an improved offer for Northern Foods with a cash element involved. It is understood to have held discussions on this matter with a number of major food groups, including Nestle.

Boparan has now posted its offer document, containing the full terms and conditions of the offer, to Northern Foods shareholders, together with the form of acceptance. Northern Foods’ shareholders have two weeks to respond to Boparan’s offer, although the deadline is expected to be extended should the 75% acceptance threshold fail to be reached. In anticipation of a counter-bid, Northern Foods shares have been trading at 75p.

Posted in NewsComments Off on Greencore Still Considering its Options on Northern Foods



Food & Drink Business Conference & Exhibition 2015

Food & Drink Event Videos

Upcoming Events

  • February 25, 2017Golositalia & Aliment & Equipment
  • February 26, 2017Gulfood
  • March 3, 2017DETROP 2017
  • March 6, 2017Sibab Portugual 2017
AEC v1.0.4

Jobs: Food Packaging

Jobs: New Product Development

Jobs: Finance

Jobs: Project Management

Jobs: Logistics

The Magazine

F&D Business Preferred Suppliers

Advertisements