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Author Archives: Richard Hall

About Richard Hall

Richard is an economist who was made a Director of the Dairy Trade Federation at 28 and has since become a world leading expert on the international food and drink sector. He regularly chairs industry conferences and client company strategy reviews. He is a respected presenter and writer of numerous industry and market studies. Email: rhall@zenithinternational.com or telephone +44 (0)1225 327900

60 acquisitions in August

September 5th, 2019 | Posted by Richard Hall in Richard Hall - (0 Comments)

Another busy month, despite the holiday season. The bevblog.net mergers and acquisitions database recorded 60 food and drink transactions in August.

3 were worth $1,000 million or more :

• £5,000 million in food delivery for Just East in the UK to merge with Takeaway.com in the Netherlands

• £4,600 million in beer for Hong Kong’s CK Asset Holdings to buy the UK’s Greene King

• $1,000 million in snacks for Simply Good Foods to acquire Quest Nutrition in the US.

Of the 60 total, 11 were in alcohol, 7 in snacks, 6 in soft drinks, 5 in services, 3 in dairy and 3 in hot drinks.

In terms of geography, 33 were international and 27 domestic – 20 in the United States and 7 in the United Kingdom.

27 countries were involved, with the United States featuring in 37 of the 60, the United Kingdom in 14, well ahead of Belgium, Canada, France and Japan on 3 each.

Costa Rica leads again

August 27th, 2019 | Posted by Richard Hall in Richard Hall - (0 Comments)

It’s more than ten years since I was involved in developing a first ever environmental footprint label for food and drink packaging, along similar lines to a nutrition label.

Unfortunately, the Carbon Action Plan was vaporised by the global economic meltdown.

Now, Costa Rica, which recently became the lead country to legislate for carbon neutrality by 2021, has also introduced a new environmental labelling scheme.

Its significance is that it not only includes

• a carbon footprint, but also adds

• a water footprint and

• a broader environmental footprint, based on a full life cycle analysis calculation.

There is a formal technical standard for it, with a reference of INTE/ISO 14026:2018, as well as a logo.

Bravo to the Costa Rican Institute of Technical Standards.

Eco Labelling

Strangest story of summer

August 22nd, 2019 | Posted by Richard Hall in Richard Hall - (0 Comments)

And an old one too.

US-based CBS News recently reported that “leaving bottled water in your car could start a fire”.

Firefighters were apparently warning people not to leave plastic bottles of water in their car because direct sunlight could “start a fire in just a couple of minutes”.

The alert dates back to 2017 when a bottle left in a truck in Idaho caused a burn mark in the seat underneath. The driver, taking a break, noticed “some smoke out of the corner of my eye”. He “looked over and realised light was being refracted from a water bottle and was starting to catch the seat on fire.”

After disbelieving colleagues dismissed the story, the incident was re-created on video and posted on Facebook. Many fire authorities then conducted their own tests.

So, the advice is … store your bottle out of the sun. Otherwise water could burn!

Solein – new protein from air

August 20th, 2019 | Posted by Richard Hall in Richard Hall - (0 Comments)

It’s difficult to know what to believe any more. Agricultural production from land is becoming food manufacture in buildings. We’ve seen numerous examples of growing cell-based meat in laboratories. Vertical farms allow multiple crops to be grown in water rather than soil.

Now, a new business in Finland has developed a means of producing protein from a combination of water, ammonia, fermentation, carbon dioxide, electricity and air.

The end result is a powder containing 50% protein, 20-25% carbohydrates, 5-10% fat and vitamin B. Solar Foods plans to launch Solein in 2021.

The point of interest is that Solein is environmentally far more efficient than other alternatives. It is said to take 15,000 litres of water to produce 1 kilo of beef, 2,500 litres of water to produce 1 kilo of soy and 10 litres of water to produce 1 kilo of Solein.

World’s top 10 dairy brands

August 15th, 2019 | Posted by Richard Hall in Richard Hall - (0 Comments)

Brand Finance’s new global ranking of the top 10 dairy brands includes just 3 from Europe, with 2 from China, 2 from North America, 2 from Asia and 1 from the Middle East.

The 10 most valuable dairy brands in 2019 are:

In contrast to the soft drinks chart, many of these brands are predominantly in a single country. The globalisation of dairy companies is well advanced, but branding has yet to follow.

World’s top 10 soft drinks brands

August 14th, 2019 | Posted by Richard Hall in Richard Hall - (0 Comments)

The world’s top 3 soft drinks brands are worth more than the top 3 food brands, according to Brand Finance’s new 2019 rankings.

The 10 most valuable soft drinks brands are:

I would highlight 4 insights from this.

• Coca-Cola is reported to be worth more than twice Pepsi.

• 3 functional drinks feature strongly in the top 10.

• Fanta and Sprite have seen substantial uplifts.

• Hot drinks brands lag soft drinks brands.

World’s top 10 food brands

August 13th, 2019 | Posted by Richard Hall in Richard Hall - (0 Comments)

Brand Finance recently produced its annual global ranking of food and drink brands.

Over the next 3 days, I shall look at the top 10 in 3 categories. First, food.

The most valuable food brands in 2019 were:

These include some dramatic changes, with China’s Yili and Mengniu performing particularly strongly alongside Lay’s, McCain and Kellogg’s. Nestlé remains at number 1, with more than twice the value of second ranked Danone.

Nestlé also has the most valuable food and drink portfolio, followed by PepsiCo and Coca-Cola.

Rehabilitating dairy fat

August 8th, 2019 | Posted by Richard Hall in Richard Hall - (0 Comments)

For 40 years, the advice has been clear. Avoid saturated fat. Now, a major new study says this was wrong. Saturated fat in dairy products is good, after all. Milk makes it ok.

The advice comes from a notable team led by Professor Arne Astrup from the University of Copenhagen in a report entitled “WHO draft guidelines on dietary saturated and trans fatty acids: time for a new approach,” published in the British Medical Journal.

The report looks at dark chocolate, eggs and meat as well as butter, cheese and yogurt.

• For butter, it finds butter was: ‘weakly associated with all-cause mortality; not associated with CVD, CHD or stroke; and inversely associated with diabetes.’

• For cheese and yogurt, it concludes they are ‘inversely associated with CVD risk; a high intake of cheese is associated with an 8% lower risk of CHD and a 13% lower risk of stroke.’

• For dairy generally, it notes dairy is a ‘major source of protein, calcium and other nutrients’, finding association ‘with lower risk of mortality and major cardiovascular disease events’ as well as ‘significantly lower incidence of diabetes.’

So the 2018 WHO draft guidelines, which recommend reducing saturated fat intake and are currently open for consultation, “fail to take account considerable evidence that the health effects of saturated fat varies depending on the specific fatty acid and on the specific food source.”

“A focus on total saturated fat might have the unintended consequence of misleading governments, consumers and industry towards promoting foods low in saturated fat but rich in refined starch and sugar.”

This is so critical because non-communicable diseases accounted for 72% of all deaths worldwide in 2016. Cardiovascular disease was responsible for 45% of these. The draft WHO guidelines rely heavily on 84 studies that focus on total saturated fat and ignore food sources.

My thanks to Global Dairy Platform for pointing all this out.