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Kerry Group says it's seeing improvement in business

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Developing markets: Kerry Group CEO Edmond Scanlon wants to products to have a longer shelf life

Developing markets: Kerry Group CEO Edmond Scanlon wants to products to have a longer shelf life

Developing markets: Kerry Group CEO Edmond Scanlon wants to products to have a longer shelf life

Kerry Group has seen "progressive improvement" in its taste and nutrition business since April.

Around 30pc of this division supplies into the food service channel.

Consumer eating habits have changed dramatically since the start of Covid-19. People's behaviour around eating has been impacted two-fold, with many employees forced to work from home, and the temporary closures of restaurants and cafes as governments shut down sections of the economy to limit the spread of Covid-19.

The other 70pc the business has been "very resilient and grown quite strongly" over the period, according to Kerry CEO Edmond Scanlon.

His comments come as the group detailed plans to place greater emphasis on sustainability going forward.

The company aims to reach over two billion people every day with sustainable nutritional solutions by 2030.

Mr Scanlon said the company's sustainability strategy and the business strategy are completely interdependent.

"Our sustainability strategy does inform our M&A and will continue to inform our M&A and any capital allocation decisions that we are making," he said.

He added that all Kerry's business divisions are connected.

The impact of the pandemic has led to "an acceleration of consciousness in food safety, and food security has shot to the top of the priority list across all countries".

The company is working on trying to extend the shelf life of products in developing markets which it says will make them more available to a broader segment of society.

By the time a fresh product comes onto a shelf in a developing market, the food might have only four or five days left of shelf life, according to Mr Scanlon.

In Europe and North America, by contrast, it could have ten days left.

"We are thinking and innovating with customers to extend that shelf life. That's where we think we can make a huge difference in developing markets," Mr Scanlon said.

In response to a question of the sale of Chr. Hansen's natural colours business to private equity group EQT Partners for €800m last month, Mr Scanlon said that Kerry had looked at the potential purchase of food colouring companies "many times in the past".

"This business and others have come up available, we have always taken a look at these businesses but never made the decision that we need to be in a natural colours business.

"We have looked at these transactions in the past and decided to pass," Mr Scanlon said.

Irish Independent


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