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May 31, 2016 / Richard Hall

3 key events coming up

The first is in New York on 13 June. It’s Beverage Digest’s Market Smarts conference, with an array of topical contributors:

• Keynote with Coca-Cola North America President

• E-commerce with Nestle, MyWebGrocer

• Financial insights from Goldman Sachs, RBC, Wells Fargo

• Foodservice with PepsiCo

• Health with Alliance for a Healthier Generation

• Mexico with Dr Pepper Snapple.

This should be a great way to come fully up to date with market trends, current issues and new ideas at the same time as valuable networking.

Full details are at

More tomorrow.

May 26, 2016 / Richard Hall

E-commerce for beverages

Beverage Digest summarised the latest US developments in e-commerce for food and drink in its issue of 13 May, based on figures from MyWebGrocer.

• Beverages account for 11% of all US online grocery purchases.
• 2015 beverage sales grew 11%.
• 79% of orders included beverages.
• Milk and soft drinks made up close to half of all beverage sales including alcohol.

The fastest growing categories were:

May 24, 2016 / Richard Hall

12,760 litres of water to make smartphone

It’s been a long time since I last wrote about water footprints. A water footprint is the amount of water required to grow or make the elements that go into a product, such as ingredients, components and packaging.

Friends of the Earth recently published a new study called ‘Mind your step’, comparing a range of everyday products.


So, everything uses water and much more than one might imagine.

May 19, 2016 / Richard Hall

UK diet failing

If we are what we eat, it’s strange we’re living longer when our diets are deteriorating.

• UK sales of fruit are down 14% since 2007.

• Vegetable consumption has fallen by 5%.

• We only eat 3 of our recommended 5 fruit and vegetable portions a day.

And obesity is soaring.

• 65% of UK men and 58% of women are overweight or obese.

• 22% of 5 year olds are obese or overweight.

• We are eating 3 times the recommended amount of high fat and/or high sugar products.

The number of children taking the recommended amount of physical activity is falling.

When will the Government come up with a well rounded policy ? July is the latest expected date for a much postponed plan. No later, please.

May 17, 2016 / Richard Hall

Beer and coffee convergence

Is the British pub becoming more of a coffee shop ? And are coffee shops becoming more like wine bars ?

The problem with many buildings, from offices and schools to bars and restaurants, is that they are expensive but not used all the time.

So how do you keep the revenue flowing and spread the costs ? Using more day parts is key to a solution.

Here are some revealing UK statistics from the Financial Times of 3rd May.

• Independent brewer Fuller’s opened its first coffee shop in 2014 and now sells 2 million hot drinks a year.

• Pub operator Wetherspoons started selling filter coffee in 2015 and now sells over 1 million cups a week.

• Craft brewer BrewDog recently acquired a 33% stake in the Third Wave coffee chain.

• Coffee chain Starbucks is moving into craft beer and wine.

The square is being circled.

May 12, 2016 / Richard Hall

Canada obesity up, while soft drinks down

At Zenith’s recent InnoBev Global Soft Drinks Congress in Italy, the President of the International Council of Beverages Associations Jim Goetz presented the most graphic evidence I’ve yet seen, demonstrating why obesity is a much more complex issue than the advocates of soft drinks taxes would have us believe.

He produced a chart for his home country of Canada showing 11 years of overweight and obesity growth by around 40%, while sugar sweetened beverage consumption fell by some 30%.

He also quoted from The New York Times of 12th November 2015 where US campaigner Professor Marion Nestle remarked : “Everybody was hoping that, with the decline in sugar and soda consumption, we’d start seeing a levelling off of adult obesity.”

As I’ve said before … Obesity needs tackling. Properly. Soft drinks have a role to play. Proportionately.

May 10, 2016 / Richard Hall

54 acquisitions in April

The pace of acquisitions accelerated in April, with 54 food and drink industry transactions recorded on the database.

3 topped $1,000 million in value:

• $3,420 million for Luxembourg-based Ardagh to buy selected can manufacturing facilities from US-based Ball.

• £1,910 million in sales for the new Froneri ice cream joint venture between Swiss-based Nestlé and UK-based R&R Ice Cream.

• $2,500 million for the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board to take a 40% stake in Swiss-based Glencore’s agribusiness.

Out of the 54 total, 13 were in alcohol, 10 in soft drinks, 5 in meat, 5 in packaging, 4 in dairy and 4 in ingredients.

With 25 countries involved, the United States featured in 28, the United Kingdom in 14, Australia in 6, Belgium in 3 and China in 3. 29 were cross-border and 25 inside national boundaries – 16 in the United States.

May 5, 2016 / Richard Hall


I firmly believe Britain must Bremain not Brexit.

No country in the modern world can decide everything for itself in isolation. We all depend on each other. Connections bring influence and mutual benefit.

The European Union is by no means perfect, but it is an amazing achievement, supporting unparalleled peace and prosperity after two world wars.

Britain would soon start counting the cost of turning its back on its nearest neighbours. It might even not be Britain anymore.

The instability of uncertainty is already depressing economic growth, the jobs market and investment.

I too would prefer greater control over immigration, but much of Britain’s recent immigration has valuably filled lower paid jobs and misplaced controls are already restricting education opportunities as well as hindering some recruitment.

I fear Brexit. Not only would the economic cost be high. The country would also lose some of its status on the world stage. The rest of my life would be taken up trying to recover the lost ground.

Yes Britain is a strong nation and eventually a new balance would be found. But Brexit would make it weaker in every way, despite apparently greater sovereignty.

I urge everyone that can vote, to do so in favour of remaining.