Hilton Food Group meat

Hilton Food Group meat

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The boom in at-home meal consumption during the pandemic has catapulted supermarket meat suppliers up the list of the UK’s biggest food and drink suppliers.

Tesco meat packer Hilton Food Group jumped six places in the OC&C Top 150 rankings to become the UK’s second largest food and drink supplier, while pork giant Cranswick rose four places into seventh.

The propulsion of these big protein players up the rankings came amid significant churn in this year’s list as the pandemic caused strong growth for some suppliers while others suffered a complete collapse in sales.

Hilton’s sales rose 50% in its last financial year to top £2.8bn, behind only Associated British Foods in the rankings (whose sales were flat at £3.5bn despite the closure of its Primark stores for several months).

Pork specialist Cranswick’s sales jumped 15.4% to £1.9bn amid booming retail demand and it too benefited form category expansion, including its push into poultry and continental foods.

Read the full story at thegrocer.co.uk.

Morning update

Ahold Delhaize has brought forward its net-zero target for direct carbon emissions to 2040.

The Belgian-Dutch supermarket group has also committed to becoming net-zero across its entire supply chain, products and services by no later than 2050.

The group has joined the ‘Business Ambition for 1.5°C’, a global coalition of UN agencies, business and industry leaders, in partnership with the Science Based Targets initiative and the UN led campaign ‘Race to Zero’.

“As a 150-year-old company, we are committed to do our part and ensure we can keep serving our customers and communities in a responsible way for the next 150 years,” said Ahold Delhaize CEO Frans Muller.

“We believe we are taking the right steps, through stakeholder feedback and third-party recognition like the Dow Jones Sustainability Index, ranking us in the top 10% of companies and from MSCI, recently upgrading Ahold Delhaize from an ‘A’ to an ‘AA’ ESG rating.”

Russian food retailer X5 Retail Group has expanded its Pyaterochka chain into the Irkutsk region.

Eight Pyaterochka stores opened today in the Irkutsk region: three in the capital city, plus two each in Usolye-Sibirskoye and Angarsk, as well as one in Shelekhov. The new stores offer an assortment of some 5,500-7,000 SKUs.

All of the newly opened stores operate under a new Pyaterochka concept, reflecting fresh and high-quality products at low prices, convenient shopping, and care for local communities, according to the update.

“Pyaterochka continues its eastward expansion, and we are happy to offer customers in Irkutsk our key advantages: proximity, comfort, and fresh and high-quality products at low prices,” said Pyaterochka general director Sergei Goncharov.

“To ensure the high quality of our goods, we have partnered with local producers, whose offering is well known and appreciated in the region. We set a new standard in food retail and work continuously to earn the trust of all our customers.”

Pharma giant AstraZeneca has seen total revenues grow 50% to $9,866m in its third quarter.

Total year to date revenue, including the addition of Alexion from 21 July, was up 32% year on year to $25,406m.

“AstraZeneca’s scientific leadership continues to provide strong revenue growth and exceptional pipeline delivery, with eight positive late-stage readouts across seven medicines since June, including our long acting antibody combination showing promise in both prevention and treatment of Covid-19,” said CEO Pascal Soriot.

Earnings guidance for the full year is unchanged.

Elsewhere, it’s a quiet morning for the sector after the excitement of M&S, ABF, B&M and WH Smith results earlier in the week.

The FTSE 100 is down 0.3% so far this morning to 7,360.07pts.

Yesterday in the City

The FTSE 100 jumped 0.7% to 7,392.50pts yesterday.

Shares at B&M European Value Retail slumpled 5.1% to 611p as the discounter struggled to live up to growth figures a year ago at the height of pandemic demand.

WH Smith also fell by 1% to 1,599.5p as it revealed a £116m loss, with the retailer still struggling with its recovery from covid.

plant-based group Beyond Meat also slumped 15.5% to $79.85 in the early going in New York as investors worried about its long-term prospects as sales continued to slow down in its third quarter.

Other losers included Glanbia, down 2.7% to €13.62, and Associated British Foods, down 2.2% to 2,012p.

In contrast, investors continued to flock to M&S after yesterday’s surprise profits upgrade. The group’s shares rose another 3% to 233.6p on top of a 16% jump on Wednesday as it eyed a return to the FTSE 100.

Other risers yesterday included Deliveroo, PayPoint, DS Smith and Bakkavor, up 4.1% to 289.6p, 2.8% to 739p, 2.7% to 392.4p and 2.6% to 120p respectively.