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April 30, 2015

Japan Tobacco Inc Fights to Stay Relevant

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Analyst Insight by Eric Penicka - Research Analyst

Japan Tobacco Inc's (JTI) announcement Thursday, 30 April 2015, to acquire LOGIC Technology Development LLC should hardly come as a surprise: JTI has long been on the sidelines of the US tobacco market, representing less than 1% of cigarette volume sales in the US. With Lorillard Inc acquiring blu e-cigarettes in 2012 (now pending a divestiture to Imperial Tobacco Group) and Reynold American Inc and Altria Group nationally launching Vuse and MarkTen, respectively, in the US, JTI is indicating they have not folded on the US tobacco industry quite yet. By acquiring LOGIC e-cigarettes, JTI positions itself in the midst of their competitors, jockeying for market share in the world's largest vapour device market and also the fastest growing segment of tobacco in the US.

While clearly a strategic move, the acquisition could have negative repercussions for one of America's leading e-cigarette brands. LOGIC e-cigarettes can attribute some portion of their success to independence from the tobacco industry. Along with competitor NJOY Inc, LOGIC has been able to appeal to former cigarette users in a way traditional tobacco companies simply cannot. With no affiliation to traditional cigarettes, LOGIC and NJOY have been able to market themselves as wellness oriented companies whose goal is to assist cigarette users in quitting tobacco. If acting as a subsidiary of JTI, it is unclear how cigarette users hoping to quit will perceive LOGIC e-cigarettes.

April 28, 2015

The Economics of the UK Election

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View Sarah Boumphrey's profile on LinkedIn

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After a deep and prolonged recession,  the UK economy has shown strong growth - outstripping many other major economies. However, much of this growth stems from a relatively fast-growing population. In per capita terms, growth has been less impressive. Added to which, government revenues have been disappointing, which has made reducing the deficit a more difficult task in a climate of austerity. Economic growth in the UK is forecast to decelerate from next year and the work of rebalancing the UK economy and placing it on a sustainable footing is far from over.

April 24, 2015

PepsiCo’s Q1: Promising Signs in a Global Soft Drinks Re-alignment

Howard TelfordAnalyst Insight by Howard Telford - Senior Beverages Analyst

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Yesterday, PepsiCo released its first quarter earnings report. Global company organic revenue grew by 4.4%, with beverages accounting for 1.5% of this top-line figure, trailing an impressive performance for the company’s Frito Lay snacks business. The company continued to enjoy volume growth in key emerging markets, despite weakness in Europe, although suffered from exposure to foreign currency volatility in international markets.

Last year, Euromonitor International put forward four recommendations to keep PepsiCo strong in the changing global environment for non-alcoholic beverages. What progress has the company made in addressing these concerns, based on its start to fiscal 2015?

Continue reading "PepsiCo’s Q1: Promising Signs in a Global Soft Drinks Re-alignment" »

April 23, 2015

Key Takeaways from McDonald's Q1 Earnings Report

ElizabethFriendAnalyst Insight by Elizabeth Friend - Senior Consumer Foodservice Analyst

There were a few interesting things about McDonald’s earnings yesterday, but the key takeaway was negative. McDonald’s saw another 3% decline in global comps, traffic declines in all major segments, and as much as a 8% drop in comps in APMEA due to continuing struggles in Japan and China. Global fast food chains have been banking for years on emerging market growth reliably propping up less positive performances in the US, but McDonald’s is now facing difficulties on all fronts, with no immediately foreseeable way forward.

That said, McDonald’s also teased a big reveal for its turnaround strategy which is expected  to come on May 4th, something to which the stock market responded very positively. There has been speculation that the new plan could bank on delivery, greater participation in mobile ordering and payments, a broader roll-out of McDonalds’ new Create Your Taste platform, or more likely, some combination of the three. While a bold move like the latter does seem to be the kind of shift in strategy it may take to pull McDonald’s out of this slump, there are some very serious operational challenges that make it seem like it could result in trading one challenge for another.

Continue reading "Key Takeaways from McDonald's Q1 Earnings Report" »

Kraft to Remove Artificial Colors and Preservatives from Macaroni and Cheese Product

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The new recipe will go into effect in January 2016 with color being supplied by natural extracts from paprika, annatto and turmeric. This change is indicative of a larger trend in packaged food in the US toward natural flavours and fewer additives.  Listen to the podcast for complete insights.

Podcast features Emily Balsamo - Research Associate

April 22, 2015

Analysing the Purchase of Iglo by Nomad Foods

This video examines why a frozen food brand was sold from one private equity group to another instead of to a food company. Pinar Hosafci discusses acquisition motivations including profit margins, retail environment and geography.

Continue reading "Analysing the Purchase of Iglo by Nomad Foods" »

April 3, 2015

Graying America: Cities that Are Ageing the Fastest

Audre BiciunaiteAnalyst Insight by Audre Biciunaite - Contributing Analyst

When it comes to demographics, the US has long been seen as a star performer among the developed countries. Although, like the rest of the world, the US is getting older, it is in a far better situation than many other advanced economies, particularly Western Europe and Japan. However, despite the relatively healthy national statistics, some of the America’s regions and cities are approaching a demographic crisis, with the size of their 65+ cohorts growing four to five times as fast as their working age populations.

In 2014, share of elderly population in the US was 14%. For comparison, the same figure in France was 18%, in Germany – 21%, in Japan – whooping 26%. The average for all developed countries that year was 18%. Hence, largely as a result of higher fertility rates and immigration, America’s population, while ageing, is nonetheless distinctly younger than other countries of similar development level.

Continue reading "Graying America: Cities that Are Ageing the Fastest" »

March 31, 2015

Kraft-Heinz Merger Proves to be the Biggest Deal in Packaged Food History

Jack SkellyAnalyst Insight by Jack Skelly - Research Anayst

Round up the usual suspects: Warren Buffett’s investment vehicle Berkshire Hathaway, in partnership with 3G Capital, has made two historic acquisitions in the packaged food industry in as many years. In 2013, the pair acquired global food manufacturer Heinz for a cool US$28 billion. The move raised eyebrows across the business world, largely for the sheer scale of the acquisition and the players involved. Seemingly willing to go one step further, the duo has now acquired US dairy and processed food manufacturer Kraft, in a deal worth US$40 billion, and have plans to merge the company with Heinz. Several questions stem from the eye-catching move.

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Continue reading "Kraft-Heinz Merger Proves to be the Biggest Deal in Packaged Food History" »

March 27, 2015

Why the Changing US Grocery Retail Market Underpins the Kraft and Heinz Merger

Tim BarrettAnalyst Insight by Tim Barrett - Retailing Analyst

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On March 25th, 2015 it was announced that Kraft Foods and HJ Heinz would merge, ultimately forming a packaged food power house called the Kraft Heinz Co.  This combined company would have a 5.4% value share of the entire US packaged foods market, making it the number one company in the space with nearly US$20 billion in sales. This merger is primarily a response to a changing grocery landscape which prioritizes cost efficiencies, given the emphasis on low prices for the consumer.

Wal-Mart becomes king of grocery retailing

Within grocery retail, Wal-Mart maintains disproportionate power as the nation’s dominant grocery retailer with around 20% market share in 2014. Its second largest competitor, Kroger, only has 8%. Wal-Mart has managed to tighten its grip on the grocery market over the past ten years, growing sales from US$45.3 billion in 2004 to US$156.5 billion in 2014.  Wal-Mart was able to increase its grocery sales by 245% thanks to its core strategy:  lower prices. 

Continue reading "Why the Changing US Grocery Retail Market Underpins the Kraft and Heinz Merger" »

March 26, 2015

RTDs in Russia: Red Alert for Stimulants in Moscow

Spiros_MalandrakisAnalyst Insight by Spiros Malandrakis - Senior Alcoholic Drinks Analyst

View Spiros Malandrakis' profile on LinkedIn

Keeping up with the marathon of legislatives changes, political posturing, taxation hikes and advertising restrictions in the freefalling Russian alcoholic drinks market over the past 5 years would prompt one to reach out for a stiff drink- even before factoring the rubble’s plunge or the geopolitical Gordian knot and resulting sanctions into the equation.

Begrudgingly doing so would probably lead to lacing said stiff drink with generous quantities of caffeine in the hope that the temporary buzz would provide short term insulation from the market’s crashing realities. From the 1st of May, even that – admittedly desperate – option will be illegal, at least in Moscow.

Continue reading "RTDs in Russia: Red Alert for Stimulants in Moscow" »

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Recent Posts

Japan Tobacco Inc Fights to Stay Relevant

The Economics of the UK Election

PepsiCo’s Q1: Promising Signs in a Global Soft Drinks Re-alignment

Key Takeaways from McDonald's Q1 Earnings Report

Kraft to Remove Artificial Colors and Preservatives from Macaroni and Cheese Product

Analysing the Purchase of Iglo by Nomad Foods

Graying America: Cities that Are Ageing the Fastest

Kraft-Heinz Merger Proves to be the Biggest Deal in Packaged Food History

Why the Changing US Grocery Retail Market Underpins the Kraft and Heinz Merger

RTDs in Russia: Red Alert for Stimulants in Moscow