Unilever is locked in a £2bn battle with Hormel Foods, the US owner of Spam, to buy Reckitt Benckiser’s food business, according to The Sunday Times. A host of other companies are also predicted to lodge final-round bids, including McCormick and Pinnacle Foods, with the fierce competition in the auction expected to drive the takeover price to beyond £2.2bn, sources told the paper.
Mr Kipling maker Premier Foods is set to unveil another disappointing set of figures this week amid growing pressure on its chief executive Gavin Darby, The Sunday Times writes. The paper picks up a note by analysts at Jefferies that predicts like-for-like sales slipping by 1.6% in the three months to July at the supplier.
Amazon is stepping up its assault on America’s $780bn grocery market with plans to deliver meal kits to customers’ homes (The Sunday Times).
The Financial Times asks ‘will the death of US retail be the next big short?’. In the first of a series looking at the rise of online shopping, the FT assesses how damaging the ‘Amazon effect’ could be for traditional retailers.
The government is “sleepwalking” into a post-Brexit future of insecure, unsafe and increasingly expensive food supplies, and has little idea how it will replace decades of EU regulation on the issue, a report by influential academics has said (The Guardian). The study says ministers and the public have become complacent after decades of consistent food supplies and stable prices for the UK, something greatly helped by the EU.
Poundland has been forced to delay the launch of a Toblerone copycat after getting stuck in a legal wrangle with the triangular chocolate bar’s owners, The Guardian reports. Last month, the budget chain announced plans to begin selling Twin Peaks, a bar with two humps rather than the distinctive single peak chunks of the Toblerone bar, which is one of the discounter’s biggest sellers.
AB InBev has declared that from a standing start three years ago, more than 50% of the barley used in its Budweiser lager is now grown on British farms — and it is aiming to get to 100% (The Times).
Brewing giant Molson Coors has been forced to mothball plans for a new brand after accidentally choosing the name used by a group of beer enthusiasts for their club, The Telegraph writes. An application to register the name “Dead Brewer’s Society” was sent by the US company’s UK subsidiary to the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) last month, but the Dead Brewers Club – whose name isn’t registered with the IPO – hit out on Twitter claiming its name was being “hijacked” by the Carling, Cobra and Coors Light maker.
US officials have launched an investigation into whether Spanish olives are improperly subsidised amid fears that American companies are being undermined (The Telegraph).
Global chocolate sales are poised for a revival as industry innovation and tumbling cocoa bean prices spur growth, Antoine de Saint-Affrique,the chief executive of the world’s biggest supplier of chocolate and cocoa products Barry Callebaut, has forecast (The Financial Times).
Just Eat has joined forces with Britain’s biggest peer-to-peer lender to offer loans to the 30,000 UK restaurants servicing its takeaway app (The Sunday Times).
Retailers are set for a £250m boost from business rates switchover as the government promised to press ahead with a reform that could save organisations £1bn (The Times).