food & drink

There you are, taking it easy on your summer holiday in Istanbul or Dubai, searching online for the next restaurant to sample. You may not know it, but the information you seek could be coming to you courtesy of a small company based in Gurgaon, near New Delhi.

Zomato, an online restaurant directory, has become a household name in India. That could soon be true in many other markets. Over the past year the website has expanded quickly overseas – from Poland to New Zealand – through a mixture of acquisitions and organic growth. Read more

The slaughter of cows is banned in many states in India and the export of cow meat is prohibited across the country.

But go to any major Indian city and you will find steaks and beef burgers on the menu in high-end restaurants, a new phenomenon that has has led to confusion and protest alike. Read more


“A bright and fresh fruit bouquet of citrus blossom, green apple with hints of tropical fruits and vanilla.”

It’s the sort of “tasting note” you would expect of wines from the luxury French brand Moët Hennessy – except that this one is made in India.

This week, the label launched its first products made specifically for the Indian market: its Chandon Brut and Chandon Brut Rosé sparkling wines. Read more

Hello China

China’s distressingly frequent food quality scandals are bad news for Chinese citizens but may be good news for UK food exports – so long as China can be persuaded to eat foods it has never eaten before, and UK food brands can adapt their traditional fare for a different kind of palate. Read more

Is Russia the world’s toughest beer market? It’s beginning to look that way, after Heineken said on Tuesday it would see a 10 per cent decline in volumes sales in the country this year. That’s even worse than a recent gloomy assessment by Carlsberg, which said volume had slumped by 7 per cent in the first half.

“Russia is a very, very difficult market,” René Hooft Graafland, Heineken’s chief financial officer, said on a conference call, warning that profits were likely to fall this year “in the low single digits”, sending the brewer’s shares down 5 per cent by mid morning in Amsterdam. Read more

The great expectations that Mexico’s largest dairy company, Grupo Lala, generated when it said it would go public three weeks ago, were not exaggerated.

On its debut on the Mexican stock exchange on Wednesday, the company’s shares rose 7.6 per cent to close at 29.59 pesos, reflecting the great appetite the company had generated among investors because of its track record and growth prospects. Read more

By Luke Smolinski and Pan Kwan Yuk

Coca-Cola and Pepsi are known for their cheery attitudes to the world. Their slogans include: “open happiness”; “life tastes good”; “the best drink created worldwide”.

But these days, life is tasting a lot less sweet for the two drinks giants as both struggle with waning growth in key emerging markets.

 Read more

The century-old global battle over who gets to call their beer Budweiser, the Czech Republic’s Budejovicky Budvar or Beligian-based Anheuser-Busch InBev, has seen the Belgians defeated on the Italian front, following a court ruling that allows the Czech brewer to use the brand on the Italian market.

Petr Samec, Budvar’s spokesman, told CTK the Czech news agency on Tuesday that the Italian decision “a great victory”, adding: “This is probably the toughest loss for ABI in more than 100 years of global war for the Budweiser brand.” Read more

By Nicholas Watson of bne

Stock Spirits Group is preparing an IPO on the London Stock Exchange which it hopes will raise about £50m to help finance its goal of becoming central and eastern Europe’s leading spirits producer. Read more

A Chinese manufacturer and direct seller of health, cleaning and beauty products with Malaysian roots may not be the most obvious cross-border investor in the South African wine industry. But Guangdong-based Perfect China is selling volumes of classic wine with a French heritage produced in South Africa’s vineyards. It is one more sign of the potential for Asian investors with an innovative eye for Africa. Read more

Wine night in Nanning

When Luca Famiglietti, a 45-year-old Italian wine supplier, first came to China in 1995, he never thought he would end up selling wine from his motherland in Qinzhou Port, Guangxi province two decades later.

But despite the allure of richer trade areas, Qinzhou, China’s sixth “free-trade port”, is emerging as a trade hub for the poorer southwestern Chinese region, including the provinces of Guangxi, Yunnan and Guizhou. Read more

There’s a telling exhibit in Mexico City’s Interactive Economy Museum illustrating relative levels of human development and well-being. Photographs show (sometimes) smiling families from around the world with all the food and drink they consume in a week.

What’s striking about the Mexican family is just how much soda it gets through – there is a line of bottles on the table – and the exhibit is already few years old. Today, the amount of fizzy drinks guzzled would probably be even higher. Read more

Nearly three months after putting its restaurant chain, Vips, up for sale, Wal-Mart de México y Centroamérica has finally found a taker: Alsea, Mexico’s largest fast and casual-restaurant operator, as well as the sole owner of all Starbucks coffee shops in the country.

The price tag for the 362-oulet chain? 8.2bn pesos ($627m). Read more

Mexico is not only one of the world’s biggest soda drinking nations. It also has an apparently unquenchable thirst for bottled water.

According to a study from Inter-American Development Bank, the country has the world’s highest per capita consumption of bottled water, with Mexicans using on average about 127 gallons (480 litres) of bottled water per person in 2011. That’s more than four times the per capita level of consumption in the US. Read more

The Indian rupee is down by over 10 per cent since May. While that may hurt some of the poorer off in society as prices of imported goods pick up, the better off may notice less.

But here’s a little kick for the privileged: prices are rising rapidly in fine dining restaurants. Read more

Cadbury India, part of the $35bn Mondelez International group, is setting up its biggest plant in the Asia Pacific region. And it has chosen the south eastern state of Andhra Pradesh for it. That’s a huge chunk of investment – especially since the plant appears to be real this time. Read more

What’s the world’s most popular tipple?

It’s likely you won’t even have heard of it, let alone tried it. The world’s biggest-selling brands of spirits come from emerging markets – but they face increasing international competition, according to new research. Read more

Multilatinas are on the march again.

This time, it’s Nutresa, the biggest publicly traded food company in one of the region’s newest darlings, Colombia, which is snagging the 120-year old Tresmontes Lucchetti group in Chile. Read more

The Kremlin’s campaign against alcohol abuse is taking its toll on Russia’s vodka industry.

As soaring taxes on liquor have put the country’s favourite tipple beyond the reach of ordinary people, sales of legally produced vodka have plunged this year – and the Russian drinks market is awash with moonshine. Read more

It’s quicker to list the countries where McDonald’s isn’t present than the ones where it is. The US fast food franchise now operates in 118 countries, and just announced Vietnam will be added to the list from next year.

Given the history between the two countries, it is understandable why it has taken a while to happen. But the history of McDonald’s shows how the US brand has forged into the most hostile of waters. Read more