The total is 103 more than in 2016 and 40% higher than five years ago. The number has increased each year apart from a dip in 2013.
The most active sectors were dairy, with 72, ingredients and soft drinks on 68, then packaging on 54.
The top 15 sectors were the same as 2016, with the exception of plant-based replacing bottled water.
Plant-based deals quadrupled (+13), with nutrition up 121% (+17), ingredients up 36% (+18) and dairy up 24% (+14).
Frutarom, Anheuser-Busch InBev, Heineken, Orkla and Unilever were the most acquisitive companies of 2017, according to the bevblog.net database, with each responsible for six or more takeovers. Lactalis, Nestlé and US Foods all made five purchases.
Coca-Cola was only company to agree to five or more sales. Kraft Heinz, Murray Goulburn, Nestlé and Unilever all agreed three sales each.
A total of 1,161 companies were involved across 64 countries, with the US and UK leading the way.
France was the biggest net buyer (+19), followed by Belgium (+16), Switzerland (+15) and Israel (+11).
The US was the main net seller (-42), followed by the UK (-22), Australia (-10) and Brazil (-10).
The acquisitions for 2018 have already started in the dairy industry, with Lactalis’ takeover of siggi’s, Emmi’s acquisition of Vitalait, and SanCor looking to sell its shares in its JV with Arla Foods Ingredients in Argentina.
The acquisitions were spread out across the 12 months, however, November saw the greatest number listed, at 10, while there were only three listed in the database for dairy in April, June and September.