March 15, 2013

 IGA Marketing Perspective

Purina and IGA—Helping You Connect with Pet-Owning Shoppers!

A message to IGA retailers from...
Chuck Stiteler
IGA Red Oval Representative
Nestlé Purina Pet Care

It is undeniable—pet-owning IGA customers are valuable to your business. Our research tells us these customers have larger families and greater incomes, are in your IGA store more often, and spend an average of over 27 percent more per shopping trip. So how do you harness the power of this growing category? With creative promotions that help you connect with your pet-owning shoppers! As your Red Oval partner for all your pet care needs, Nestlé Purina is dedicated to working with you to create those promotions, like for instance the second annual pet photo contest exclusively for IGA shoppers!

In celebration of National Pet Month and the kick-off of IGA Hometown Fest, this May your IGA shoppers will be able to upload photos of their pets to for a chance to win prizes in six photo categories in the Purina Picture PAWfect ComPETition. One winner in each category will win 12 $20.00 Purina coupons (good for one year) at an IGA store!

And best yet, this creative contest provides yet another reason for your shoppers to visit your own IGA website. From May 1 – May 31, shoppers will be encouraged to "click-through" from your IGALink website to the IGA – Purina Pet Photo Contest microsite on There they can view pet photos and upload their own for a chance to win, and also "opt-in" to hear more from both Purina and their local IGA.

Visit the Alliance site in the coming weeks for more information, and stay tuned to The Independent View for updates and best practices from IGA retailers who are promoting the contest in stores!

Thank you,

Chuck Stiteler


Retail News

Retail food prices declined a tenth of a percent in February, according to just released government data. The Consumer Price Index for eight of the 15 specific categories tracked by The Food Institute declined last month led by a 1.3% drop in both sugar & sweets and seafood. Full Story

Target agreed to acquire CHEFS Catalog and assets of in two separate transactions aimed at expanding Target's presence in the cooking and kitchenware market. Following the closings, expected within 30 days, the two businesses will be combined to create a wholly owned subsidiary of Target. Full Story

AUA Private Equity Partners completed a recapitalization of Associated Foods Holdings in partnership with the company's owners. AUA Equity's partnership with Associated's owners and management team will allow the company to accelerate its growth by adding new stores to its existing network and increase its financing capacity to its customers for remodeling and expansion. Associated is a specialty distributor of grocery products to branded independent (predominately Hispanic-owned) retail supermarkets in the New York metropolitan area. Full Story

Increasingly, grocery stores are employing dietitians, one of several ways they are trying to build customer loyalty. While they are part of the intense grocery war competition, but they are also viewed as a necessary component as more consumers deal with obesity and food allergies, reported The Business Review. Full Story

New Store News: Trader Joe's will open a 11,000-sq.-ft. location in Rollingwood, TX, reported Austin American-Statesman. Full Story ... H Mart Korean grocery store will be opening a 20,000-sq.-ft. location in downtown Seattle this fall, reported Puget Sound Business Journal. Full Story... True Drinks' AquaBall Naturally Flavored Water gained new distribution and retailer outlets including Associated Grocers, H.T. Hackney, and Central Grocers while expanding its footprint in Food 4 Less, Cefco, Weis and other national retailers. Full Story

Manufacturer News

Hostess Brands stated McKee Foods will buy its Drake's Snack Cake business for $27.5 million. Drake's products include Ring Dings, Yodels, Devil Dogs, Yankee Doodles, Sunny Doodles, and Drake's Coffee Cake. Separately, Hostess Brands will proceed with an auction for its Sweetheart, Eddy's, Standish Farms, and Grandma Emilie's bread brands March 15 after the company received additional qualified offers. United States Bakery, as the stalking horse bidder, agreed to pay $30 million for the brands, four bakeries, and 14 depots, plus certain equipment. Full Story

The Hain Celestial Group launched more than 100 food, beverage, and personal care products with new flavors and product benefits that debuted at the Natural Products Expo West. The products include: Earth's Best brand Yummy Tummy Organic Fruit and Fiber Purees, Organic Fruit Yogurt Smoothies with DHA, five Organic Mini Meals and Baked BBQ Chicken Nuggets for toddlers; two Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime tea varieties; MaraNatha No-Stir Creamy Coconut Almond Butter; The Greek Gods Honey Orange and Honey Lemon Greek-Style Yogurt and Kefir low fat cultured milk; and Arrowhead Mills Gluten Free Quinoa and Oat Instant Hot Cereal and Sprouted Wheat Berry & Quinoa Flakes. Full Story

Blue Diamond Growers opened its 6,500-sq.-ft. Almond Innovation Center in Sacramento, CA. The center is intended to lead Blue Diamond's efforts to develop new almond products. According to the general manager for North American retail operations, the cooperative has introduced a dozen new almond products in the U.S. alone over the past six months. Another dozen are set to debut in the next six months, reported The Sacramento Bee. Full Story (Free Registration Required)

ConAgra executives note that there is still room for growth in private labels, with store brands representing just 18% of packaged foods in the U.S., compared with 36% in the UK and 44% in the Netherlands. The store-brand specialists often focus on certain product categories as well, claimed Safeway's president of advertising and marketing. And not all store brands are made by outside companies. Kroger, for instance, has 37 plants that churn out about 40% of its store brands. Safeway also makes some of its own brands, reported The Associated Press. Full Story

A Smithfield Foods subsidiary plans to close its Landover, MD as it consolidates operations. Smithfield Packing plans to move bone-in ham production from the Landover plant to plants in North Carolina and Kentucky, closing out operations at the Maryland site by early fall. Full Story

House of Raeford plans to close its turkey slaughtering plant in Hoke County, NC as part of restructuring. The plant will shut down over the next four to six months after producing holiday-season turkeys, the company said. The move is part of a plan to focus the Rose Hill-based company on chicken production and expansion of fully cooked poultry lines. The company's Raeford cook plant will remain open, The Fayetteville Observer reported. Full Story (Free Subscription Required)

Foodservice News

Bellwether Food Group will merge with Restaurant Insights to form a new entity providing comprehensive, one-stop-shopping for the foodservice and retail arenas. The firm will adopt the Bellwether Food Group moniker. The merger is expected to be completed by April 1. Terms of the deal were not made public. The merger will enable Bellwether Food Group to support its clients in the chain restaurant, chain retailing and food and beverage industries. Full Story

The Zaxby's restaurant chain renewed a multiyear beverage agreement with Coca-Cola, making Coke the primary soft drink supplier at Zaxby's locations. Atlanta-based Zaxby's has more than 570 locations in 13 states, reported Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Full Story

Innovative Food Holdings purchased an office and warehouse building in Bonita Springs, FL, which will serve as the headquarters for the company and its subsidiaries. The property includes 1.1 acres of land and close to 10,000-sq.-ft. of combined office and warehouse space and was purchased as part of a bank short sale. Innovative Food Holdings, through its subsidiaries, is a leading nationwide provider of direct from source specialty foods, health-care foods and artisanal foods, to the professional foodservice market. Full Story

Executives on the Move: El Pollo Loco appointed Richard Pineda as vice president of supply chain management and Jeff Little as vice president of development. Full Story

Health News

Breast cancer survivors who average as little as one serving per day of high-fat dairy foods have a 49% higher risk of dying from breast cancer than those who eat little or no high-fat dairy, claims a study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. In absolute terms, breast cancer survivors who consumed the most high-fat dairy had about a 12% risk of dying of the disease, reported Reuters. Full Story

Placing a symbolic label in addition to the numeric calorie information on a menu is a better way to reach more diners as numeric calorie labels might not be the most effective way to influence patrons to select "healthier" items, according to a study published in International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity. The results show adding the traffic light symbol to the existing calorie information further reduced the number of calories ordered with highly health-conscious patrons, reported Science Daily. Full Story

Washington News

Proposed federal legislation would reinstitute a ban on slaughtering horses and prohibit the export of American horses for slaughter in Canada and Mexico. The Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act is sponsored by Sens. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Reps. Patrick Meehan (R-PA) and Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), reported the Los Angeles Times. Full Story

Republican State Rep. Drew Springer recently filed "The Shopping Bag Freedom Act," a bill intended to block plastic-bag bans in Austin and other Texas cities. His House Bill 2416 states that "a business that sells an item to a customer may provide to the customer at the point of sale a bag, package or other container made from any material." It also states that a regulation by a local government trying to restrict the distribution of bags at the point of sale "is invalid and has no effect," reported Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Full Story

FDA submitted a proposed collection of information to the Office of Management and Budget for review and clearance regarding a list of U.S. dairy product manufacturers and processors interested in exporting their products to Chile as a prerequisite for exporting products to the country. On average, the list contained approximately 176 firms over the past three years, and FDA estimates each year approximately 25 new firms will apply to be added to the list. Comments on the information collection will be considered if received by April 15. Full Notice

U.S. meatpackers would be forced to close one day a week from mid-July through September under USDA's plan to address the sequester's budget cuts, according to undersecretary for food safety Elisabeth Hagen, speaking to members of the House Agriculture appropriations subcommittee. There will be 11 days of unpaid leave required of meat inspectors and frontline employees – all occuring on the same 11 days – to meet budget cuts. The one-day-a-week furloughs probably will start in mid-July and continue through Sept. 30, reported the Lincoln Journal Star. Full Story

Global News

Dole Food Company will appeal a decision by the EU General Court affirming the European Commission's fine of €45.6 million ($59.55 million) for alleged anticompetitive information exchanges involving Dole Fresh Fruit Europe OHG and other EU banana importers in Germany 10 years ago. "The General Court's decision treats discussions about general market conditions the same as a price fixing cartel...we strongly believe that the European competition laws were not violated and we will appeal this decision to the EU Court of Justice," stated C. Michael Carter, Dole's president and COO. Full Story

Meanwhile, EU governments failed to reach a decision March 15 on whether to ban three widely-used pesticides linked to the decline of honeybees. The ban was proposed by the European Commission in January, after the EU's food safety watchdog EFSA stated a class of pesticides known as neonicotinoids pose an acute risk to honeybee health, reported Reuters. Full Story

Dairy Queen opened its latest location in Trinidad, the 20th country outside the U.S. and Canada with a Dairy Queen location, will open three new locations in the next couple of months and is planning many additional locations in Trinidad over the next few years. Full Story

Swiss luxury chocolate maker Lindt & Spruengli is confident people will keep buying its treats this year despite weak consumer sentiment in its key market, Europe. Strong demand for its Lindor praline balls and gold foil-wrapped Easter bunnies in Germany, France, Britain and the U.S. pushed net and operating profit up 10% in 2012, reported Reuters. Full Story

Red Bull reported it is being blackmailed with threats of food contamination. The energy drink maker states the perpetrators are threatening to place cans of its product contaminated with feces on supermarket shelves. The threats started several weeks ago. The company stated the investigation into the threats were focused on Austria but they were also working with prosecutors in Germany. Meanwhile, Marcus Neher of the Salzburg Public Prosecutor's office in Austria stated that "up to now there has only been a claim of contamination," and the company also states that supermarket checks have shown no signs the product was tampered with, reported The Washington Post. Full Story (Free Subscription Required)

Market News

Treatment of tomatoes with the essential oils of three herbs reduces salmonella contamination, and one - oregano - even enhances quality, according to a study published in the Journal of Food Science. Researchers looked separately at oregano, cinnamon bark and mustard and confirmed the pathogen-reducing properties of some herbs noted in prior research, reported The Packer. Full Story, Study Abstract

California Giant Berry Farms will begin using FoodLink's item-specific tracking solution on all strawberries grown in the U.S. Under terms of the agreement, FoodLink will create QR-coded labels for "clamshell" strawberry containers. The code will contain information about the specific growing location of the packaged berries, allowing trading partners and consumers to trace the berries back to their source, reported The Produce News. Full Story

The coffee harvest in Vietnam, the biggest grower of robusta beans used by Nestle in instant drinks, may drop to an eight-year low because of drought in the main growing regions, boosting prices to the highest since 2011. Production may plunge as much as 30% to 1 million tons in the 12 months starting October from 1.43 million tons this year, according to the median of eight trader and shipper estimates compiled by Bloomberg, reported Full Story

Manatee County's stone crab season has softened in the middle after starting strong. Stone crabs in the south have been killed by red tide, while clear waters around Manatee County and the north allow predators to feast on stone crab traps. However, there is still time for the season to rebound before its May 15 end, according to a research scientist at Fish and Wildlife Research Institute in St. Petersburg, FL. Some restaurant owners have had to raise prices on stone crabs while others are augmenting their local supply of stone crab claws with catches out of Everglades City and St. Pete Beach, reported The Bradenton Herald. Full Story


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