Chief executive of Reckitt Benckiser, Bart Becht, has reaffirmed the Anglo-Dutch household products group’s keenness to grow by acquisition.

In an interview with German paper FT Deutschland Becht said he was “not in a position to give any comments about takeover targets”, but added that personal hygiene was an interesting growth market with high margins in which Reckitt had not invested enough.

“We have grown and prospered through our successful host of acquisitions and will continue to be driven by this strategy. We have enough cash to make a large purchase,” he said.

The introduction of a deposit system for canned drinks and other throwaway packaging in Germany has led to fears of a beer shortage and is said to have caused chaos in supermarkets.

Under the new law, which is aimed at discouraging the use of materials which harm the environment, Germans have to pay a deposit of between 15p and 30p on cans and non re-useable bottles.

But some supermarket chains like Aldi are apparently planning to stop selling beer or soft drinks in cans altogether rather than face the costly and time consuming process of taking returns.

Apples could stay fresh for up to three months if dipped in a natural fungicide found in grape juice.

Experiments in Madrid have shown that dipping the fruit in a diluted solution of it has a dramatic effect on its shelf life without effects on its taste.

Instead of moulding away in a couple of weeks, 90% were fresh and edible after 60 days and some survived longer.