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Nov 13, 2018 / Richard Hall

Word of the year – single-use

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.

Nov 6, 2018 / Richard Hall

69 acquisitions in October

69 food and drink transactions were recorded in the mergers and acquisitions database for October.

5 involved sums of more than $500 million, of which 2 reached $1 billion:

• €1,000 million in combined sales for the Irish merger of Lakeland Dairies and LacPatrick Dairies

• $1,080 million for Hearthside Food Solutions to buy Irish Greencore’s US business

• $650 million for Italy’s Lavazza to purchase Mars Drinks

• $628 million for India’s Zydus Wellness to take on selected Indian assets from Kraft Heinz

• $600 million for D1 private equity and others to provide funding to Instacart’s online delivery service in the United States.

Of the 69 total, 9 were in ingredients, 8 in soft drinks, 6 in snacks, 5 in general food, 5 in hot drinks, 5 in services, 4 in alcohol and 4 in confectionery.

30 were within individual countries, 21 of these in United States, 3 in the United Kingdom and 2 in Germany. 39 were international.

Of the 27 countries affected, the United States featured in 36 overall, the United Kingdom in 13, Germany in 7, Ireland in 5, Switzerland in 5, followed by Australia, Canada and Italy on 4 each.

Nov 1, 2018 / Richard Hall

Click and collect for soft drinks

It’s time I updated you on what may be the world’s most developed market for click and collect – France’s ‘drives’.

The growth has slowed, but remains strong, and the weight of purchase is steadily advancing towards a 10% share.
Click and Collect for Soft Drinks

These Nielsen figures, published in the October issue of Rayon Boissons, show considerable variations, which are explained by:

• drives favouring planned and repeat purchases by families with children

• carbonated/still drinks being more of an impulse purchase.

Oct 30, 2018 / Richard Hall

Alcohol consumption declining

A new study remarks on an increase in binge drinking in Canada, while overall alcohol consumption by young people has been falling in Europe and North America.

The report focuses on the Health Survey for England in 2015, covering 9,699 participants aged 16-24, with comparisons going back to 2005.

The findings show a striking increase in non-drinking.
Alcohol Consumption 1

In particular, young people are starting to drink at a later age. Women are less likely to drink than men and abstention among non-white ethnic groups has increased to 68%.

It also appears that young people are drinking less frequently and less in excess.

Alcohol Consumptio2

It is hardly surprising that this trend is generating extra interest in adult soft drinks as well as zero proof drinks. It is no coincidence that this wider market opportunity will be a key feature of Zenith Global’s next UK Soft Drinks Conference on 15th May 2019 in central London under the theme of ‘Crafting the Future.’

Oct 25, 2018 / Richard Hall


I am always pleased when The Economist magazine updates my all-time favourite chart on the state of the world economy, because this picture paints many more than a thousand words.

World GDP

It shows that global economic production has grown at a rate of more than 3% a year in 15 out of the last 18 quarters, rising to 3.56% in the second quarter of 2018 after reaching 3.57% in the first quarter of 2018.

This is despite all the extra uncertainty of trade restrictions and Brexit, financial risk and political volatility.

Growth rates are rising in the United States and India, while levelling out in China and Europe. China remains the largest contributor to overall global economic growth.

Oct 18, 2018 / Richard Hall

Online grocery outlook

The latest Tetra Pak Index provides another set of superb insights into the future of online grocery.

For all fast moving consumer goods, online sales increased by 30% worldwide in the year to March 2017, taking at 4.6% share.

In grocery alone, online sales have risen from $21 billion in 2012 to $41 billion in 2017, with projected growth of 17% a year to $94 billion in 2022.

Forecasts by country and key city show massive variations.


Consumers are reported to be loyal to their initial online retailer choice and to preferred brands, but they are searching increasingly by product rather than brand.

Convenience seems to be decisive. More attention is being devoted to ‘super fast delivery’, voice ordering, auto-replenishment and the unpacking experience. Sustainability is at last rising up the agenda.

Oct 16, 2018 / Richard Hall

What American children drink

You might expect that soft drinks would be the most consumed beverage group by American children, but the latest US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey for 2013 to 2016 shows this is not so.

For children of all age groups – 2 to 5, 6 to 11 and 12-19 – water tops the table, followed by milk until the age of 12.

In fact, water builds to an almost 50% share for teenagers, while milk drops from 32% for the youngest to 14% for teenagers.

Soft drinks rise to 22% for teenagers, less than half the share of water.

Girls depend on water more than boys, who drink a higher share of everything else.

The overall figures for all age groups are:

BLOG-16Oct2018-What American Children Drink

In terms of children’s nutrition, it is significant that: “ For all Americans aged two years and older, milk is the number one food source of three of the four under-consumed nutrients of public health concern identified by the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, namely calcium, vitamin D and potassium.”

Oct 4, 2018 / Richard Hall

49 acquisitions in September

September brought fewer mergers and acquisitions than normal, with under 50 food and drink transactions recorded on the database.

3 topped the $500 million mark:

• $2,000 million in ingredients for Univar to buy Nexeo Solutions in the United States

• 740 million euros for France’s Lactalis to acquire the nutrition business of South Africa’s Aspen Pharmacare.

• $525 million in soft drinks for the newly formed Keurig Dr Pepper to gain Core Nutrition in the United States

Of the 49 total, 7 were in ingredients, 6 in soft drinks and 5 in snacks, with 3 each in alcohol, bakery, confectionery and dairy.

20 countries were involved. 28 deals were within national borders, 17 of these in the United States and 4 in the United Kingdom.

Overall, the United States featured in 26, the United Kingdom in 8 and the Netherlands in 5, followed by France, Germany and Switzerland on 4 apiece.