Danone to appeal Wahaha ruling
HANGZHOU, CHINA: French food group Danone is to appeal against a Chinese court's ruling that it no longer has any rights to Wahaha, China's biggest drinks brand. A Chinese arbitration commission said a trademark transfer deal signed in 1996 had expired, a ruling Danone said was "illegal and unacceptable".

Vin & Sprit on auction block
STOCKHOLM: Absolut vodka maker Vin & Sprit will be sold next year via auction, the Swedish government said on Tuesday, and could fetch £2.93bn to £3.42bn. The sale has attracted interest from suitors including Fortune Brands, Pernod Ricard, Bacardi and Diageo. Financial markets minister Mats Odell said price would be the government's prime consideration and only bids for the whole of V&S would be considered.

Soriana eyes rival's stores
NUEVO LEON, MEXICO: Soriana, Mexico's second largest retailer, is to acquire 206 supermarkets from rival operator Gigante in a deal valued at $1.35bn (£659.6m). If the agreement is approved by competition authorities it would allow Soriana to compete more effectively with market leader Wal-Mex, the company said.

ICA rocked by food hygiene scandal
SOLNA, SWEDEN: Ahold-owned ICA summoned 1,400 store managers to an emergency meeting following a food hygiene scandal. A Swedish television documentary claimed four ICA Maxi stores in the Stockholm suburbs were re-labelling unsold meat and changing sell-by dates on the packages. ICA chairman Kenneth Bengtsson pledged a "zero-tolerance" approach to poor hygiene standards amid what he described as his "worst crisis" in charge of the company. The retailer said it was launching an external review of its hygiene procedures, to be completed in the first quarter of 2008.

Kroger in P&G loyalty card tie-up
CINCINNATI, OHIO: Supermarket chain Kroger has teamed up with Procter & Gamble to offer electronic coupons in conjunction with its loyalty cards. Kroger loyalty card holders can download P&G offers from Kroger.com onto their cards. The e-coupons offer discounts of between $0.20 and $3.

Food prices blamed for inflation
BEIJING: Consumer inflation in China hit an 11-year high of 6.9% this November, official figures have shown. Soaring food prices - especially pork, which was up 56% in price - were largely blamed for the higher than expected rise.

Voice-picking boosts productivity
ZAANDAM, NETHERLANDS: Dutch supermarket chain Albert Heijn has introduced a multi-lingual voice-picking system to assist immigrant workers in its warehouses. The Motorola system has increased productivity levels by 5% to 10% and produced near-100% picking accuracy.