Opinion from global food and drink experts, Zenith Global

Asia dominates the latest forecasts on grocery e-commerce expansion worldwide from IGD, the Institute of Grocery Distribution.

China comes out on top, with expected sales of almost $200 billion, nearly 4 times more than today.

South Korea is anticipated to have the highest online market penetration at 14.2% of overall grocery sales. This is said to be “due to the rising number of smaller households, widespread high speed internet access and high consumer confidence in making online payments.”

Other research by IGD earlier in 2018 would have put India in 7th place with $5.0 billion of online grocery sales by 2022 and Indonesia in 8th place with $4.5 billion.

IGD will be speaking at Zenith Global’s Global Beverage Insights day in London on 16th May 2019.

I reported on Tetra Pak’s e-commerce forecasts in my blog on 18th October.



47 acquisitions in October

December 11th, 2018 | Posted by Richard Hall in Richard Hall - (0 Comments)

A total of 47 food and drink industry transactions were recorded on the bevblog.net mergers and acquisitions database in October.

4 of these amounted to more than $500 million, with 2 above $1,000 million.

  • $1,840 million for South Korea’s CJ Cheiljedang to buy 80% of Schwan’s frozen food in the United States
  • $1,230 million for France’s Lactalis to purchase the natural cheese business of Kraft Heinz in Canada
  • $880 million for China’s Legend private equity firm to take 94.47% of Australis Seafoods in Chile
  • $550 million for US-based Sazerac to acquire 19 spirits brands from Diageo.

Of the 47, 8 were in alcohol, 4 each in bakery, services and soft drinks, then 3 each in dairy, ingredients and packaging.

28 were within national borders, 15 of these in the United States and 5 in the United Kingdom. 19 were international. 23 countries were involved overall.

22 featured the United States, followed by the United Kingdom on 9, France on 6, with China and Germany on 3 each.

Cyprus now has the worst obesity amongst children in Europe, with Greece, Italy and Spain not far behind, according to new data from the World Health Organisation European Childhood Obesity Surveillance Initiative covering over 300,000 children aged 6 to 9.

 The figures are far higher than for the north west fringe of Europe.

How can this be, one is tempted to ask, when the Mediterranean diet of fruit, vegetables, pasta and olive oil was held out to be an example to all? Indeed, as recently as 2013, the Mediterranean diet was officially recognised by UNESCO as part of humanity’s intangible cultural heritage.

The unfortunate answer was given in uncharacteristically forthright terms by the WHO at last month’s European Congress on Obesity. “The Mediterranean diet for the children in these countries is gone. There is no Mediterranean diet any more. Those who are close to the Mediterranean diet are the Swedish kids. The Mediterranean diet is gone and we need to recover it.”

Two of the biggest issues in my working life around food and drink have been health and sustainability.

The key questions have always been – What are the facts ? And how best to change behaviour ?

But almost every aspect is disputed. Facts may change over time. Policy depends on feasibility.

Right or wrong, the United Kingdom is one of the best countries at taking new initiatives, which are then followed by other nations.

It did this on sugar. It targeted soft drinks, set high and mid-level sugar triggers and gave some time for industry to adjust. Various other countries have since copied this approach.

The same may now happen with plastic. The European Parliament has addressed some aspects of plastic: in seeking to ban certain single-use items by 2021; alongside reducing use of other items; and increasing collection and recycling to 90% by 2025. But this has yet to be formulated as legislation.

It is the UK Government again that is leading the way on taxation. The formula is similar to the one for sugar.

  • It requires a specific behaviour change by industry – the inclusion of 30% recycled content.
  • It allows time for implementation – 1st April 2022, one more year than for sugar.
  • It provides limited other details, preparing for extensive consultation.
  • It regards the measure as just one step on a longer journey.

I was critical of the sugar tax on soft drinks for failing to tackle the wider issue of obesity and obstructing the opportunity for more comprehensive action.

I expect other countries will also copy the 30% rPET target, but all packaging needs scrutiny and people need motivation beyond taxes.

These aren’t the contradiction they sound like, but they are a curious phenomenon.

France may be the most advanced market in the world for click and collect, with several thousand dedicated drive-in collection outlets.

Now French supermarket chains are introducing city centre walk-in collection outlets. The first was opened in 2016.

It seems they are generally quite small at under 200 square metres, offer a good range at attractive prices and receive deliveries from picking centres four times a day.

The latest to be opened, by Auchan in Lille, is said to expect 800 orders a week at an average of 40 euros.

Convenience comes ever closer.

Organic growth in France

November 22nd, 2018 | Posted by Richard Hall in Richard Hall - (0 Comments)

Sales of most organic drinks in France have grown very strongly in the year to 9th September 2018, according to Nielsen as published in Rayon Boissons this month.

Organic soft drinks jumped by 17% in value and organic alcoholic drinks by 34%. Organic champagne was the only segment to slip back.

The organic market share ranges from 12.0% for fruit juice to 0.5% for carbonated soft drinks and 0.4% for organic champagne.

5 highlights from BrauBeviale

November 20th, 2018 | Posted by Richard Hall in Richard Hall - (0 Comments)

I spent much of last week at the huge and always rewarding BrauBeviale beverage processing trade fair in Nürnberg. Here is a small selection of the many highlights I noted:

  • PET bottles with glass inside
    KHS has developed a way to line the inside of PET bottles with a very thin coating of glass, which substantially boosts the shelf life of carbonated drinks in smaller bottle sizes and has no adverse impact on recyclability.
  • Embossing glass with ink
    Owens-Illinois displayed its Expressions technique, which can customise glass bottles with endless variations of printing that include the effect of clear cut glass embossing.
  • PET recycling leadership
    Krones has now designed and helped build 10 PET recycling plants around the world from California to Bangladesh.
  • Tethered caps under development
    Although industry representatives believe the European Commission is mistaken in seeking to require that caps are redesigned to remain attached to the neck of bottles, I saw prototypes from both Aptar and Bericap that show how this might be made to work.
  • World Beverage Innovation Awards
    I was particularly pleased to present this year’s Awards, because there were 241 worthy entries that bear witness to a thriving and imaginative industry. Full details of the finalists and winners are available at www.foodbev.com/news/world-beverage-innovation-awards-2018-winners-braubeviale.

Word of the year – single-use

November 13th, 2018 | Posted by Richard Hall in Richard Hall - (0 Comments)

Single-use has been declared ‘Word of the Year’ for 2018 by Collins Dictionary.

It certainly wasn’t much in use before this year. Yet it’s now come into multi-use by legislators including the European Parliament and the UK Government.

Unfortunately, its meaning is subject to repeated misuse.

Single-use, by definition, means ‘made to be used a single time’. But it has also become synonymous with waste and negligence.

This has led to proposed bans on single-use packaging.

However, most packaging can be recycled and given another life, even many lives.

Single-use plastic bottles may be lighter, cheaper, safer and better for the environment by requiring less energy and producing less emissions than other materials.

Even single-use plastic straws may be more appropriate on certain occasions, such as for disabled people, who might have difficulty with metal or paper straws for hot drinks.

We live in an increasingly knee-jerk, fake news, populist politics world where balanced judgement often escapes us.

Let’s not follow that path on single-use as a form of abuse.

We should focus on the far bigger goals of better design for re-use where possible and end-use where not. Bans may well be appropriate in some cases, but they should be targeted and proportionate.