The food and drink industry is demanding “urgent action” from the government to tackle a severe shortages of vets to process UK food exports after Brexit. (The Financial Times £)
The president of the National Farmers’ Union has attacked Boris Johnson’s government for “completely contradictory” policies that show a “total lack of understanding of how food production works”, in a ramping up of rhetoric from the UK’s largest farming group (The Financial Times £). Food producers have said the challenges they face are “the toughest in a generation” as members of the National Farmers’ Union met for their annual conference after the first full year of Brexit (The Guardian).
Pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline has unveiled “Haleon” as the new name for its consumer healthcare division, which is set to be spun off and listed in London as a top-20 member of the FTSE 100 in the middle of this year (The Times £). GlaxoSmithKline has unveiled the name of the consumer healthcare business that it plans to spin out later this year (The Daily Mail)
The drinks company Innocent has had an advert banned by the Advertising Standards Authority after environmentalists reported it for claiming that drinking its smoothies is good for the environment (The Guardian). Adverts for drinks firm Innocent have been banned after the advertising regulator ruled they “misled” customers over the firm’s environmental impact (The BBC).
Caffe Nero roared back from the pandemic – more than doubling sales in the six months to the end of November. (The Daily Mail)
THG has attempted to reassure investors about its relationship with suppliers after reports that Unilever was restricting access to its beauty brands. (The Times £)
Boots is to offer individual lateral flow tests for as much as £5.99, including delivery, from Wednesday as retailers gear up for the end of widely available free tests (The Guardian). Pharmacy Boots will begin selling single Covid tests for £5.99 from Wednesday, despite free kits being available via the NHS until 1 April (The BBC).
The Guardian picks up the story of one of Wall Street’s most fearsome activist investors has launched a campaign to force McDonald’s to change the way it buys pork for its Bacon McDouble Cheeseburgers, Sausage McMuffins and McRib sandwiches. Carl Icahn, whose long history as an asset stripper precedes him, plans to challenge the practice used by some of McDonald’s pork suppliers. (The Guardian)
The FT’s Brooke Masters writes that Icahn’s push for happier McDonald’s pigs is just the start and investors won’t sit by idly when companies fail to match stakeholder rhetoric with genuine action. “Companies had better start getting used to this kind of activism. Single issue charities and activist hedge funds have long sought to use US annual general meetings to demand change, and now they are getting backing from a much wider range of investors.” (The Financial Times £)
Efforts to force companies to pursue a wider social purpose “go too far”, the boss of John Lewis has said. Dame Sharon White rejected calls for a change in legislation that would require firms to advance the interests of society and the environment as well as delivering returns for shareholders. (The Telegraph)