Opinion from global food and drink experts, Zenith Global
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73 acquisitions in July

August 6th, 2019 | Posted by Richard Hall in Richard Hall - (0 Comments)

July was not only a big month for the number of food and drink company transactions, with 73 deals recorded on the bevblog.net mergers and acquisitions database, it was also a month of big numbers.

There were 7 over $500 million, including 5 over $1,000 million:

• $11,300 million in beer for Japan’s Asahi to buy Carlton & United Breweries in Australia from Anheuser-Busch InBev.

• $2,500 million in packaging for Canada’s Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan to combine with Luxembourg’s Ardagh in creating Trivium Packaging in Netherlands.

• $2,200 million in biscuits for US-based private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts to purchase Arnott’s in Australia from US-based Campbell Soup.

• $2,000 million in foodservice for Performance Food Group to gain Reinhart Foodservice from Reyes Holdings in the United States.

• $1,700 million in food for US-based PepsiCo to take over Pioneer Foods in South Africa.

Among the 73 total, 12 were in alcohol, 8 in soft drinks, 6 in packaging, 5 in dairy, 5 in snacks and 4 in ingredients.

39 were within national borders, 24 of these in the United States and 10 in the United Kingdom. 34 were international.

Overall, 22 countries were represented. The United States featured in 36 and the United Kingdom in 15, followed by Germany on 8, France on 7, then Belgium and Spain each on 4.

The world’s first experiment with minimum unit pricing for alcohol started in Scotland on 1 May 2018 and initial results have now been reported.

The main reason for the scheme was to curb the availability of very low priced beer, cider and spirits in shops encouraging consumption, especially by problem drinkers, leading to illness and early death – an average of 22 deaths per week.

The minimum price was set at £0.50 per unit, so a 2 unit 50cl can of lager at 4% alcohol by volume cannot be sold below £1 and a 28 unit 70cl bottle of whisky at 40% alcohol by volume must be priced at £14 or more.

A 3 litre bottle of high strength 7.5% alcohol by volume cider used to cost as little as £4 but cannot now be sold less than £11.25.

So, what was the impact ? Actually, not that much, it seems.

• Pure alcohol consumption has fallen 3% since 2017.

• This is faster than an average decline of 1% a year through supermarkets and off-licences since 2010.

• There has been “no real change in what we are choosing to drink”.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that smaller shops are now more competitive, but there has also been an increase in product theft.

Forecasts by the United Nations on 17 June project that the world’s population of 7.7 billion today will rise by 26% to 9.7 billion by 2050 and by a further 12% to 10.9 billion by 2100.

India will become the world’s most populous country by 2030, increasing to 1.6 billion in 2050, with China rising then falling back to the current level of 1.4 billion.

Nigeria is on course to take third place in 2050, having jumped from 95 million in 1990 to 201 million in 2019 and reaching 401 million in 2050.

Indeed, Sub-Saharan Africa will account for more than half of global population growth up to 2050, doubling over the next 30 years to 2.1 billion. With a current birth rate of 7 children per family, Niger’s population could even triple.

In contrast, 27 countries have had declining populations since 2010 and 55 countries are predicted to experience declines up to 2050. Some of the biggest reductions have been in East Europe.

Syria, Bangladesh and Venezuela have lost the highest numbers due to emigration, with the United States and Germany seeing the greatest immigration.

Average life expectancy is expected to continue increasing. In 1990 it was 64.2 years. For 2019 it has increased to 72.6 years. By 2050, it is expected to reach 77.1 years.

I’m hoping for more years, too. Along with quality and sustainability.

Decomposition quiz

July 18th, 2019 | Posted by Richard Hall in Richard Hall - (0 Comments)

Well, it’s summer and the holiday season is upon many of us.

So here is a quiz about how long it takes for a range of commonly used materials to decompose.

There figures are taken from a recent article in www.telegraph.co.uk. The 10 materials are listed below. The answers follow.

It would, however, be so much better to collect and re-use as much as possible.

Swallowing credit cards

July 16th, 2019 | Posted by Richard Hall in Richard Hall - (0 Comments)

In case you missed it, analysis of more than 50 research studies, by Australia’s University of Newcastle, has found that everyone in the world on average ingests:

• 5 grams of plastic each week, the weight of a plastic credit card, by consuming

• up to 102,000 tiny pieces during a full year.

90% of this microplastic reportedly comes from water, mainly tap but also bottled, with 72% of tap water samples tested containing plastic particles.

Other products with high levels of plastic include shellfish, salt and beer.

The research has apparently been endorsed by the World Wildlife Fund.

While no product may be immune from microplastic, I would imagine an artesian natural mineral water that has been filtered through rocks for a number of years is far more likely to be free of microplastic than virtually anything else we consume.

And financial. $27 million, in fact. For a UK start-up called Zoe, which means ‘life’ in Greek.

Funded by Zoe, research was undertaken by King’s College London in collaboration with Massachusetts General Hospital.

According to the Financial Times on 11 June, it “measured changes in blood levels of biological markers such as sugars, insulin and fats after volunteers had eaten specific meals, together with data on their physical activity, sleep, hunger and gut bacteria.”

The study found that “Individuals’ metabolic responses to the same foods vary remarkably, even between identical twins.”

This led to the striking conclusion that “our metabolism is not fixed; we have the power to change it.”

As a result, Zoe aims to develop a test and app that we can use to select personalised diets that match our own individual metabolism and lifestyle.

The world has been heading towards more personalised nutrition for at least a decade. Now, technology is being developed to make it a far more widespread reality.

Carbon-free countries

July 9th, 2019 | Posted by Richard Hall in Richard Hall - (0 Comments)

We all have to applaud the United Kingdom for declaring a wish to have zero net emissions by 2050.

This will require a concerted strategy from energy to waste as well as huge investment. It may well accelerate economic growth rather than slow it down.

The proof will, of course, be whether or not the target is actually achieved. Some would argue that it should be sooner rather than later.

Nevertheless, we should not overlook the altogether mightier ambition of Costa Rica in Latin America. Although, far smaller, Cost Rica has:

• since 2014 derived 99% of its energy from renewable resources

• including 2 periods of more than 2 months each relying 100% on renewable energy;

• in June 2017 set a target of eliminating all single-use plastic by 2021 and

• in summer 2018 agreed a goal of becoming completely carbon-neutral by 2021.

This would make it the first country in the world to go carbon-free.

Where one goes, others will surely wish to follow.

53 acquisitions in June

July 4th, 2019 | Posted by Richard Hall in Richard Hall - (0 Comments)

53 food and drink industry transactions were added to the bevblog.net mergers and acquisitions database in June.

Only 2 reached the $500 million mark:

•  €475 million in foodservice for UK-based Compass to buy Fazer Food Services in Nordics

•  $500 million in spirits for Asia’s Hillhouse Capital private equity to purchase a majority of Loch Lomond Group in UK.

Of the 53 deals, 8 were in dairy, 7 in alcohol, 6 in soft drinks and 4 each in equipment and ingredients.

Among the newer categories, there were 2 in vertical farming, 1 in alcohol-free, 1 in CBD, 1 in dairy-free and 1 in liquid food.

27 were within national borders, with 14 of these in the United States and 4 in the United Kingdom. 26 were international.

19 countries featured overall, with the US involved in a total of 22, the UK in 11, France in 5, Germany in 5, Australia in 4, Italy in 4 and Switzerland in 3.