2018 in review: The biggest news stories of the year
We take a look at the most influential news stories published on FoodBev.com in 2018, including those on sustainability and innovative moves within the industry such as the legalisation of cannabis in Canada.
Investments: Cargill invests $235m to expand its operations in the Philippines, Coca-Cola announces a $1.2bn investment plan in Argentina
Two significant investments happened in 2018.
Cargill put forward plans to invest $235 million in the Philippines to grow its business in the country in the next two years, the company said. The investment will drive the expansion of the company’s animal feed and nutrition unit and agricultural supply chain businesses.
The announcement came the same week as Cargill revealed a $70 million spend in Thailand over the next two years to address the increase in global demand for seafood and poultry.
Cargill will expand its cooked poultry facility in Nakornratchasima and upgrade and refurbish an aqua feed production plant located in Petchaburi.
In addition, Coca-Cola announced that it will invest $1.2 billion in Argentina over the next three years to expand the production of soft drinks in the country.
A statement from the company claimed that the investment was necessary to achieve “truly sustainable growth with a positive socioeconomic impact, compatible with environmental protection.”
Meat alternatives: Beyond Meat plans to go public with $100m public offering
The rise in popularity of meat alternatives became clear when US meat alternative company Beyond Meat planned to go public with an IPO worth $100 million to accelerate breakneck growth.
The company filed the IPO with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in mid-November. It claimed its success so far, based on the likeness of its products to real meat, has allowed it “to compete directly in the $1.4 trillion global meat industry” and wanted the public offering to accelerate that.
Keurig Dr Pepper: Net sales of $2.73bn during third quarter
Keurig Dr Pepper (KDP) recorded net sales of $2.73 billion in its third-quarter results, its first figures to combine the performances of both Keurig Green Mountain and Dr Pepper Snapple.
During the quarter, the company successfully completed the merger between the companies on 9 July. Net sales more than doubled, primarily reflecting the impact of the merger.
On an adjusted pro forma basis – which are non-GAAP financial measures and assume the merger occurred in December 2016 – the company’s net sales grew 2.9%.
Brexit: Unilever chooses Rotterdam over London for its headquarters
Talks of Brexit had several impacts on the industry, including Unilever choosing Rotterdam over the UK for its global headquarters. The transition will see Unilever's two legal entities – a UK PLC and a Dutch NV – become one unit incorporated in the Netherlands. The company said this reflects the fact that shares in NV account for around 55% of the group’s combined ordinary share capital.
Crackdown on single-use plastics: UK government to introduce tax on single-use plastics, EU lawmakers vote to ban range of single-use plastics from 2021.
This year, recycling has been one of the most discussed topics in the food and beverage industry. Legislative action against the use of single-use plastics came in the form of a tax being introduced in the UK, and a ban on single-use from the EU from 2021.
These actions came in conjunction with many packaging companies contending how PET can be the solution to waste and recycling issues, alongside sufficient education for consumers on recyclability and reusability of packaging.
Cannabis: Opportunities for food and drink as Canada legalises cannabis, Coca-Cola eyes cannabis-infused drinks market in Canada.
Cannabis was a much-discussed trend for the food and beverage industry, bringing novel products such as cannabis chewing gum and cannabis-infused gin.
The legalisation of cannabis in Canada this year opened up more opportunities for companies wishing to utilise this trend in their products.
Meat and dairy alternatives: Study on meat-free alternative salt content, FDA to ‘fast track’ on dairy labelling issue.
Catering to changes in consumer diets, new meat and dairy alternatives regularly appeared on FoodBev.com in 2018. With this brought demands for provenance in labelling, as bodies such as the FDA still seek to make it clear that alternate ‘milk’ products do not contain dairy.
In France, for example, MPs responded to labelling and trading concerns by voting to ban terms such as 'bacon' and 'sausage’ for meat-free alternatives.
In addition, consumer concerns about the amount of salt in meat alternative products were raised. This has surfaced over the last year as meat-free products are becoming ever-popular choices.
Pressure on Nestlé and Campbell’s: Nestlé responds to Third Point's pressure to boost profitability, Activist investor Third Point ups stake in "dismal"Campbell Soup.
Activist investor Third Point put pressure on Nestlé and Campbell's this year.
Daniel Loeb, the leader of Third Point, launched a scathing attack on Nestlé in July, concerned that it "does not fully appreciate the rapidly occurring shifts in consumer behaviour that threaten its future".
Nestlé responded by pointing out the repositioning of its brand portfolio.
In terms of Campbell’s, Third Point said its analysis on Campbell Soup “shows that years of abysmal oversight by the… board of directors permitted management missteps, dismal operating performance, and a series of ill-advised acquisitions to take an irreversible toll”.