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News briefs: Lactalis, Chinese dairy and flatulence threats

By Neil Merrett , 13-Sep-2007

In this week's industry round up, there is acquisition fever afoot as a number of dairy group's aim to expand globally into emerging markets, and the environmental danger of cow flatulence is played down by a US consumer group.

Further Croatian consolidation expected by Lactalis French dairy group Lactalis could be set for further investment in Croatian Subsidiary Dukat, according to local news reports. The reports suggest that the group will spend an additional €5m worth of investment over the next 18 months to expand capacity for milk production.


In March, Lactalis acquired a 91.5 per cent stake in Dukat as part of its plans to enter the country's growing dairy sector through innovation in the market place. Croatian milk sales are expected to see strong growth over the coming years, particularly for processors that are able to tap into a growing trend for milk that can retain a longer life.


China Mengniu Dairy reveals growth ambitions China Mengniu Dairy Company has revealed it plans for greater technological advancements in its operations to produce higher value functional goods it says can help transform the country into the world's largest supplier of dairy products.


As part of the focus, the company added it would also work with its milk suppliers over enhancing the quality of their output. The announcement was made in an interim trading statement by the group, which posted a 32.8 per cent in increase for revenues on the back of development for higher value brands and improved marketing.


The company said that it now holds a 25.1 per cent share of the liquid milk market in the country, excluding the milk drinks and yoghurt category, pointing to figures released by ACNielsen in June 2007.


Heritage foods buy Vikram dairy Indian group Heritage foods has acquired local processor Vikram dairy, to extend its presence in the country's dairy production, according to news reports. The acquisition, which was made for an undisclosed sum, will allow the group to expand the group's production and distribution capacity in the country.


Lancet paper is all hot air, says consumer group An opinion piece in British medical journal The Lancet, which suggests that a global reduction in consumption of animal-derived products is needed to reduce the affects of climate change, has been dismissed by a US consumer group.


David Martosko, research director for the Center for Consumer Freedom was unconvinced by the publication's arguments, suggesting, in a roundabout way, that there were more pressing concerns for industry to deal with. "Something doesn't smell quite right here," he stated. "It's sad that a few scientists truly believe cow flatulence is the biggest threat to humanity."


Though welcoming a less gassy alternative to current cattle stocks, Martosko added that it was unrealistic to expect consumers to abandon meat.


"If someone can breed livestock that emits less methane, I'm all for it," he stated "But consumers are never going to give up their steaks, milkshakes, and drumsticks."

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