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Dec 7, 2017 / Richard Hall

56 acquisitions in November

56 food and drink transactions were recorded on the mergers and acquisitions database in November.

2 involved huge sums of over $5,000 million and 1 more exceeded $500 million:

• $12,000 million combined sales for the US alcohol distribution merger of Republic National Distributing Company and Breakthru Beverage Group

• $6,550 million value for another alcohol merger between San Miguel Pure Foods, San Miguel Brewery and Ginebra San Miguel in the Philippines to create San Miguel Food and Beverage

• $727 million sales for US based Kind Snacks, in which Mars took a minority stake.

Among the 56 total, 12 were in alcohol, 10 in dairy, 6 in snacks, 5 in soft drinks and 3 each in hot drinks, ingredients and nutrition.

27 were within national borders, 20 of these being in the United States. 29 were international.

Overall, 27 countries featured, with the United States marking up 34 deals, the United Kingdom 6, Australia 5, Canada 5, Spain 4 and France 3.

Nov 23, 2017 / Richard Hall

National policy on bottled water

Of all the countries in the world, which would you suppose is developing a National Policy on Packaged and Bottled Water ?

There may be others, but I’m not aware of any. So this may be the first such initiative. It’s been taken by the Minister of State for Trade in Uganda.

The three main reasons appear to be market growth, counterfeiting and tax disparities.

• ‘Bottled water has become a very important commodity’ and the Minister wishes “to make sure the industry grows.”

• He also wants to “get rid of counterfeit bottled water products and illegal players.”

• The third issue is that different tax rates across East and Central Africa make Uganda producers less competitive. Kenya levies no duty, Tanzania charges 5% and Uganda exacts 10%.

According to the Uganda Water and Juice Manufacturers Association Secretary, “until now the unofficial policy in Uganda considers bottled water to be a luxury product, whereas we all know that water is life and is consumed by everybody.”

Nov 21, 2017 / Richard Hall

Aluminium recycling nears target

Aluminium beverage can recycling in Europe rose 1.6% to a record 72.9% in 2014, according to the latest figures for the EU 28 and EFTA countries, closing the gap on the 2025 target of 75%.

Finland, Germany, Belgium and Norway all achieved levels of 95% or more. Spain, the United Kingdom and Estonia were in the middle of the rankings at around 65%.

Four countries, however, failed even to reach 33% – Cyprus, Greece, Portugal and Latvia.

If some countries can achieve 90% or more, why not the rest ?

Nov 16, 2017 / Richard Hall

2.3 billion people overweight

Another major study has found that childhood obesity worldwide has multiplied 10 times in 40 years.

124 million 5 to 19 year olds were obese in 2016, compared with 11 million in 1975. Another 213 million were overweight in 2016.

Obesity now affects 6% of girls and 8% of boys. Yet there are also 75 million girls and 117 million boys who are underweight.

Adult obesity over the same period has increased from 100 million to 671 million, with a further 1,300 million overweight.

The World Health Organisation analysis attributes the causes of increased obesity to food marketing, higher pricing of healthy food and government polices.

I have long argued that government policies are lacking. I also accept that food innovation and marketing has been effective. But I disagree that healthy food is any more or less affordable than other food.

Nov 14, 2017 / Richard Hall

Food link to health and death

Good diet, better health. Bad diet, worse life, earlier death.

The evidence of how our food affects our health has never been stronger.

Last month, a study involving 2,500 researchers across 130 countries concluded that:

• Poor diet was associated with 18.8% of all deaths in 2016 – primarily too little wholegrains, fruit, nuts, seeds and fish oil and too much salt.

• High body mass index was the 4th largest contributor to loss of health, after high blood pressure, smoking and high blood sugar.

• 3 of the top 4 factors therefore involve our diet.

Fortunately, there was good news too.

2016 was the first year that less than 5 million children died under the age of 5. In 1990 the number was 11 million.

Nov 7, 2017 / Richard Hall

58 acquisitions in October

58 food and drink mergers, acquisitions and investments were recorded on the database for October.

7 exceeded $500 million and 3 of these reached $1,000 million, led by:

• €1,623 million in soft drinks for PAI private equity based in France and others to buy Refresco based in Netherlands

• $1,600 million for Graphic Packaging to purchase International Paper’s North American consumer packaging business

• $1,000 million in dairy for Canada’s Saputo to acquire Australia’s Murray Goulburn.

Among the 58, 13 were in soft drinks, 10 in alcohol, 8 in ingredients, 6 in packaging, 5 in dairy and 5 in snacks.

31 were international and 27 within national borders, including 14 in the United States and 4 in Australia.

32 countries featured – more than usual. The United States participated in 22, Germany in 6, Australia and the United Kingdom in 5, France and the Netherlands in 4. Canada, Japan, Switzerland and Thailand were involved in 3. Others included Chile, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Peru and Saudi Arabia.

Nov 2, 2017 / Richard Hall

Facts behind Jamie’s restaurant sugar levy

The headlines read that a 10 pence levy on sugar-sweetened beverages in 37 Jamie’s Italian restaurants from 1 September 2015 reduced sales by 11.0% after 12 weeks.

What was missing from many reports of the study were a number of contradictory facts and questions.

• Sales recovered by 1.7% in the following 12 weeks.

• What happened since March 2016 ?

• While sugar-sweetened beverage sales had fallen 9.3% at 6 months, sales of diet cola had also dropped by 7.3%.

• More surprisingly, bottled water sales decreased by 6.5% even though its overall market is growing and fruit juice increased by 21.8% even though its overall market is declining. Yet children’s fruit juice was down 9.9%.

Confused ? Well …

• The research didn’t measure other beverage or tap water consumption.

• Nor did it examine the impact of “supporting activity including beverage menu redesign, new products and establishment of a children’s health fund from levy proceeds” plus a dedicated television programme.

So much for the headlines.

Oct 31, 2017 / Richard Hall

43% less packaging in 8 years

This is really an extraordinary achievement. It’s not as if packaging was first invented in 2007. Environmental concerns and lightweighting were well under way long before then.

So a reduction of 42.8% across all materials – glass and HDPE as well as PET – by 2015 is remarkable.

The average amount of bottle material used for packaged water in North America has fallen from just over 34 grams per litre to 19.5 grams per litre.

Among other findings of the new Quantis study:

• Bottled water accounted for 0.11% of all US greenhouse gas emissions in 2015.

• Bottled water’s US carbon footprint is 183 grams of CO2 equivalent per litre, compared with 539 grams per litre for carbonated soft drinks.

• Non-renewable energy usage for bottled water is 0.3% of the US total.

• Solid waste from bottled water is 0.11% of the US municipal total.

• Bottled water requires just 0.32 extra litres of water in production for each litre in a bottle.