Cereal Killers: Food CEOs On The Firing Line

The Wall Street Journal: “A cereal killer is stalking the executive offices of packaged food companies, with Kellogg boss John Bryant being the latest victim. Other companies where chief executives have left since the spring of 2016 or are on their way out include General Mills, Mondelez, Hormel, Hershey, Nestlé and Coca-Cola.”

“Of the 10 largest U.S.-listed food companies by revenue, not a single one has outperformed the S&P 500 in the past 12 months … One reason is moribund food prices. Last month’s U.S. consumer-price index for food eaten at home was essentially unchanged from the spring of 2014.”

“Even as prices stagnate, consumer preferences have shifted toward fresher and healthier food. Meanwhile, supermarkets are suffering too and are responding by cutting the number of brands stocked or pushing store brands. Food companies have reshuffled or pruned brands to appeal more to consumers and done expensive acquisitions, such as General Mills’ 2014 purchase of organic food company Annie’s. To really move the needle, though, they will have to focus ruthlessly on costs.”

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