Whether you breakfast on toast and marmalade, cereal or bacon and eggs it is long odds on that you are sampling some of the products on offer from one of the companies highlighted below. It has always been the case that the majority of food that we eat in the UK is home grown and produced, although the figure has fallen in recent years it is still just over 60%. [1]

With the political risks abounding in the world and the effects of climate change security of the nation’s food supplies is of course of crucial importance. A subject outside the scope of  this article but suffice to add that with the government committed to increasing home produced food to 70% of consumption. Given the above target, there is a huge task ahead not only for government to create the right conditions for this to happen and to see it through, but certainly on the nations' farmers, growers and food processors.  Four of the probable beneficiaries of the market opportunities are analysed below.

Premier Foods Plc (PFD)

This group started life in 1999 as the private equity acquisition vehicle to take over the food brands  Smedleys and Hartleys from Hillsdown Holdings. The build up picked up with the acquisition in 2002 of Nestles ambient food businesses; Crosse & Blackwell, Sarsons, Branston and Sun Pat. [2]

The company floated on the London Stock Exchange in July 2004. The growth to its present market capitalisation of £1bn was rounded out by buying Campbells (incl. Oxo, Batchelors, Homepride and Fray Bentos) in 2006 and then in March 2007 the chunky Rank Hovis McDougall which added Hovis, Sharwoods and Mr Kipling brands. 

In the major markets Premier Foods Plc is in direct competition to dominate with Associated British Foods (see below)  but there is certainly room for both. An instance of the edge involved is £PFD’s proud boast that they make 2m loaves of bread per day and these are bought by 78% of British households. However £PFD’s management had to make this work having recently spent £30m on the Hovis brand relaunch.

Although larger than anything else this brand development expenditure is fairly typical of the management strategy at Premier Foods Plc,  investing for the longer term, with the consequent effect on current profits. Operating losses were reported for…

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