Latest News

14 July

Aspartame “possible carcinogen” but safe to consume in moderation, WHO rules

Credit: MDV Edwards /

Two World Health Organization studies into the safety of aspartame have revealed the sweetener is a “possible carcinogen” but can be consumed safely within previously recommended guidelines. 

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) said aspartame should be added to the list of possibly carcinogenic substances.  

However, a separate report by the Joint Food and Agriculture Organisation and WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) said it had not found convincing evidence of the link between the substance and cancer. 

The JECFA review said it would maintain its guidance that aspartame was safe to consume in moderation. It continued to recommend people keep consumption of aspartame below 40mg/kg a day, a level it first set in 1981. 

For the average person, this would be equivalent to between nine to 14 cans of diet soda per day. 

17 July

Russia seizes Carlsberg, Danone operations

Moscow has taken charge of the Russian subsidiaries of Danish brewer Carlsberg and French water brand owner Danone. 

The Kremlin has placed the foreign-owned stakes of both Baltika Breweries and Danone Russia under the “temporary management” of government property agency Rosimushchestvo. Both Carlsberg and Danone were in the process of selling their operations in Russia. 

Vladimir Putin introduced legislation in April to allow the seizure of assets belonging to businesses from companies Russia deemed “unfriendly”. 

Danone Russia is the country’s largest dairy company, and has around 8,000 employees. The company has previously indicated the sale of its business would result in a hit of up to €1bn ($1.1bn). 

Carlsberg, meanwhile, also has more than 8,000 employees in Russia and produces domestic beer brands including Baltika. It has eight production breweries in the country.

7 June

Diageo CEO Sir Ivan Menezes dies

Diageo’s outgoing CEO Sir Ivan Menezes has died aged 63 following a short illness. 

The Indian-born American/British businessman announced his retirement in March, following a ten-year stint as Diageo CEO. 

Menezes was due to retire as Diageo CEO on 30 June. 

The news comes just two days after the company announced COO Debra Crew – who had been due to take over from Menezes in July – was to assume the role early. 

The statement on 5 June had said Menezes was in hospital recovering after receiving treatment for medical conditions including a stomach ulcer. 

Born in July 1959, in Pune, India, Menezes joined Diageo when it was founded in 1997, having been strategy director at Guinness plc. 

23 June and 7 July

Stock Spirits’ double M&A swoop

Poland-based distiller Stock Spirits announced two potential acquisitions in a fortnight, buying Clan Campbell Scotch from Pernod Ricard and German business Borco-Marken-Import Matthiesen. 

On 23 June, Stock Spirits said it had started “exclusive negotiations” to buy Clan Campbell. Two weeks later, the company unveiled a deal to acquire Hamburg-based Borco. 

The deal for Borco, which see Stock Spirits enter the Tequila category, remains subject to German and Austrian regulatory procedures. 

Described on Pernod Ricard’s website as “a key premium Scotch in France”, Clan Campbell was launched in 1984. It is also sold in other European markets including Spain and Italy. The company recently launched a rum-based spirit drink under the Clan Caribbean brand. 

2 August

Coca-Cola Europacific Partners nears move to buy Philippines bottler

Coca-Cola Europacific Partners is looking to acquire fellow bottler Coca-Cola Beverages Philippines. 

The UK-headquartered group and Philippines conglomerate Aboitiz Equity Ventures have signed a “letter of intent” to team up to buy Coca-Cola Beverages Philippines (CCBPI). 

Under the plans, Coca-Cola Europacific Partners would own 60% of the business, with power-to-financial services group Aboitiz Equity Ventures holding the rest. The proposed deal values CCBPI at $1.8bn, on a debt-free and cash-free basis. 

CCEP already has operations in Indonesia, where it acquired full ownership of its local business from The Coca-Cola Co. earlier this year. A deal two years earlier for fellow bottler Coca-Cola Amatil gave CCEP assets in markets including Australia and New Zealand.