April 11, 2013

 IGA Awards of Excellence Perspective

Creating a Winning Situation with IGA!

A message to the Alliance from...
2013 IGA USA International Retailer of the Year Finalist
Mike Trask
Granite Falls IGA
Granite Falls, WA
LDC: Unified Grocers, Inc.

In preparation for next week's 2013 Awards of Excellence Banquet at the IGA Global Rally in Chicago, The Independent View today profiles IGA USA International Retailer of the Year Mike Trask. Read on to learn why he believes IGA is important to his retailing success.

Ours is not just the only grocery store in our community, but other than a few gas stations and a drug store, it's the only store period. That means we have a lot on our plate when it comes to taking care of our community's needs. We have a responsibility to balance great offerings and customer service with community contribution, and we're always looking for ways to make that happen.

At the 2008 IGA Global Rally in Merrillville, Ind., I discovered a solution that would put our store in a position to win for generations to come: Our family business could be transformed into an outstanding IGA supermarket. Now in just a few years, thanks to the support of IGA, Unified Grocers, our dedicated employees and community, our store is not just a great IGA—it's an award-winning IGA!

In my opinion, however, we're all winning—me, the store team, and most importantly, the community. Prior to remodeling and becoming an IGA, we solicited input from the community, and we found that people know and trust the IGA brand. Along with that trust we get resources that help keep us at the forefront of innovation and nourish the special relationship we have with our community. IGA makes it easier for us to compete every day, whether it's with a great event, great products, or just having the brand on the front of our store.

We want to be the best, and IGA helps us do that.


Mike Trask


Retail News

Publix Super Markets acquired the 44,696-sq.-ft. shopping center that houses its store in Charlotte Harbor, FL for $4.7 million, part of a growing trend for the chain. Such transactions are becoming a more common occurrence for a chain that once leased almost all its stores. Last year, Publix generated retail sales of $27.5 billion, revenue that has, in turn, allowed the company to go into acquisition mode. Many of the deals Publix has done for its stores have been executed in Southwest Florida, reported Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Full Story

Amazon is expanding its online wine delivery service to include Texas. Amazon Wine allows customers to make purchases directly from more than 350 wineries and 2,200 participating labels and will now include Texas wineries as well, reported San Antonio Business Journal. Full Story

Sales for the convenience store industry were a record $700.3 billion for 2012, according to NACS' State of the Industry Summit. The industry also saw in-store sales increase 2.2%, to reach $199.3 billion in the past year, another record. The overall sales reflect real growth per store, with sales outpacing the 0.7% increase in the number of U.S. c-stores in 2012, reported Convenience Store News. Full Story

Belle Foods began a rebranding campaign to convert all of its Bruno's Supermarket locations to the Belle Foods banner. Belle Foods purchased Birmingham, AL-based Southern Family Markets in February, acquiring 57 stores in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi and Florida that operate under banners including Bruno's, Food World and Piggly Wiggly. Over the next 18 months, Belle Foods plans to convert all of its stores, and new features include a fresh salad bar and panini grill, along with a wider variety of marinated and seasoned meats and Alabama seafood, reported Alabama Live. Full Story

Meanwhile, Belle Foods also plans to hire 300 part-time employees as it reduces its full-time workforce. The Birmingham-based grocer is the owner of former Bruno's and Food World stores across the Southeast, reported Alabama Live. Full Story

MoneyGram renewed its exclusive relationship with Circle K and expanded its product offerings to include money transfer and bill payment services in Circle K's 2,900 company-owned stores. Full Story

Manufacturer News

Triscuit is putting major marketing support behind its new Brown Rice Triscuit lineup. The line extension marks a major shift for a 110-year-old brand known for its simplistic wheat-packed crackers. By adding rice, potatoes and spices like basil and sea salt, Triscuit is seeking to appeal to consumers who are eating more snacks and less traditional meals. Triscuit is the sixth-largest brand in the U.S. cracker and biscuit category, with 7.2% share, according to Euromonitor International, reported Advertising Age. Full Story (Paid Subscription Required)

Foodservice News

McDonald's is putting pressure on franchisees to improve staffing and service as complaints mount about rude employees. A webcast McDonald's executives held with franchise owners last month identified the top customer complaint as "rude or unprofessional employees," with one in five customer complaints related to friendliness issues, according to a slide from the presentation reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. QSR Magazine's annual Drive-Thru Study found other restaurants have consistently outperformed McDonald's in comparisons of customer service at fast-food chains. Full Story (WSJ Subscription Required)

Taco Bell is planning to have 20% of its combo meals meet one-third of the federal government's recommended dietary guidelines by 2020. The move comes at a time legislators, activists and parents are pushing food chains to offer more better-for-you choices. At the same time more Millennials are choosing better-for-you options sold at places like Chipotle and Panera Bread. Taco Bell hopes to test a range of new, better-for-you products later this year and begin launching some nationally in 2014, reported USA Today. Full Story

Ruby Tuesday reported same-restaurant sales decreased 2.8% at company-owned restaurants in the company's 2013 fiscal third quarter, and decreased 1.7% at domestic Ruby Tuesday franchise restaurants during the same period. Ruby Tuesday closed sale leaseback transactions on four restaurants in the quarter, resulting in $8.8 million of gross proceeds, and closed sale leaseback transactions on an additional two restaurants subsequent to the end of the quarter, resulting in $5.2 million of gross proceeds. Full Story

Restaurant Roundup: Einstein Bros. Bagels and Noah's New York Bagels added Bagel Clusters snacks for guests to consume on the go and Frozen Strawberry Lemonade, Mixed Berry Smoothie and Vanilla Hazelnut Iced Coffee beverages. Full Story... Texas de Brazil will open a location on Third Avenue and 60th Street in New York City later this year. Full Story

Executives on the Move: Burger King Worldwide made changes to its senior management team, with CEO Bernardo Hees to continue to serve as CEO until the completion of the H.J. Heinz acquisition, at which point Mr. Hees will become CEO of H.J. Heinz. Burger King Worldwide CFO Daniel Schwartz was appointed COO, and will become CEO July 1. Joshua Kobza will succeed Mr. Schwartz as CFO. Full Story, Heinz Press Release ... The California Grocers Association named Keri Askew Bailey SVP, Government Relations and Public Policy. The responsibilities of the newly created position including creating and managing an aggressive public policy program, industry issues management, aggressive grass-roots member outreach and a strong political program. Full Story

Health News

Regularly eating cereal for breakfast is tied to healthy weight for kids, according to a new study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Kids who ate more cereal got more vitamin D, B-3, B-12, riboflavin, calcium, iron, zinc and potassium in their diets than kids who ate less cereal or none at all. They also got slightly more calories, fat, fiber and sugar, reported Reuters. Full Story

Washington News

FDA is requesting a budget of $4.7 billion as part of the President's fiscal year 2014 budget, with industry user fees to fund 94% of the proposed budget increase. An additional $295.8 million, of which $252.4 million would be collected in user fees, would bolster the FDA's food safety efforts. An additional $10 million above the FY 2012 level would support risk detection of products and ingredients manufactured in China. Full Story

The National Retail Federation sent a letter to members of the House of Representatives expressing its support for H.R. 1120, the Preventing Greater Uncertainty in Labor-Management Relations Act. H.R. 1120 would prohibit the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) from further decision-making responsibilities and prevent the NLRB from enforcing any board decision or action made after President Obama's January 2012 recess appointments. The bill is expected to come to the House floor for a full vote later this week. Full Story

Formosa Food Company is recalling approximately 1,133-lbs. of a pork jerky product because of misbranding and undeclared wheat. Full Story

Manda Packing Company is recalling approximately 20,166-lbs. of cooked roast beef deli meat due to possible contamination with Listeria monocytogenes. Full Story

Global News

Global food prices rose 1% in March, according to the UN's food agency, pointing to a surge in dairy costs, while cereals prices were little changed and seen facing downward pressure in coming months. Food prices spiked over the summer of 2012 fueled by a historic drought in the U.S. and dry weather in other major producers. Prices eased slightly towards the end of last year but have been nudging higher again for the past two months, reported Reuters. Full Story

Marks & Spencer posted a seventh-straight quarterly fall in underlying sales of clothing and homewares, having to rely on a strong performance from its food business to deliver overall growth. Marc Bolland, chief executive of the UK-based retailer that has recently been the subject of takeover speculation, is under pressure from shareholders to revive its clothing operations. He has stated that a new general merchandise management team led by John Dixon, the former boss of M&S's food business, and Belinda Earl, the former chief of Debenhams and Jaeger, will not make a major impact on sales until autumn/winter collections hit the shops in July, reported Reuters. Full Story

KFC parent Yum Brands warned that a new bird flu outbreak in China badly hit restaurant sales there this month, even as the company also reported a sharper-than-expected slide in March sales in the country caused by the lingering impact of a separate food safety scare. Yum reaps more than half its overall sales in China, where most of its nearly 5,300 restaurants are KFCs, reported Reuters. Full Story

The development of super rice strains in China will keep the country self-sufficient, with an expected yield of 14.9 metric tons per hectare. A scientific research project was launched April 9 in Hainan province to develop new super rice strains by the Minister of Agriculture, reported China Daily. Full Story

Cold Stone Creamery is expanding to the Philippines and Bangladesh. Kahala, the parent company of Cold Stone Creamery, has signed 10-year master franchise agreements with Olive Tree Foods Ltd. in Bangladesh, and with Arizona Ice Cream Corporation in the Philippines. Full Story

Market News

The ongoing problems of pre-harvest fruit drop and small size sent the 2012-13 Florida orange crop down another 1 million boxes, and few industry observers think that's the last of the reductions until the season wraps up in June. USDA's monthly citrus crop update reported this season's projected orange crop at 138 million, down 1 million from the March report. The agency kept the projected Florida grapefruit crop at 17 million boxes, but it reduced the 2012-13 tangerine forecast by 200,000 boxes to 3.5 million boxes. USDA has reduced its orange crop forecast every month since the initial October estimate of 154 million boxes. The drop problem has sent the farm price for Valencias up more than 16% in three months to $1.80 to $1.85 per pound solids, reported The Lakeland Ledger. Full Story (Free Registration Required)

The California navel orange deal could end production ahead of past expectations as it enters its final months with volumes tapering off. "Traditionally we have navels, at least in minimal supplies, until the Fourth of July," the president of California Citrus Mutual told The Packer. "This year it appears we're going to wind up a bit early. The crop is picking as much as 5% to 10% lighter than we anticipated." Full Story

A strain of citrus greening, known as Lam, was found in the U.S. for the first time. The disease was found in a citrus psyllid near Mission, TX, stated the president of Texas Citrus Mutual to The Packer. Before the Texas finding, Lam had only been confirmed in Brazil, reported The Packer Online. Full Story

Despite the increase of acreage in North Carolina, grain sorghum seeds may be short in supply this year. Acreage jumped from 10,000 acres to 70,000 acres in the past year, and while some claim 100,000 acres could be possible in 2013, it will depend on how well dealers and growers can coordinate seed buying, reported Southeast Farm Press. Full Story

The impending removal of the fumigant methyl bromide is becoming a dilemma for California strawberry growers. The removal of the fumigant could affect strawberry production, as it is a particularly critical element in the state's $2.4 billion industry. Methyl bromide was technically phased out by 2005 and its limited use is allowed under "critical-use exemptions" at least through 2014, reported Western Farm Press. Full Story

Rice is no longer the largest food product in China as corn production surpassed the staple crop for the first time, according to the Chinese Academy for Social Sciences. Domestic corn production grew 8% to 208 million metric tons, while rice output edged up just 1.6% to 204 million tons. Another major grain, wheat, grew 2.7%, reported China Daily. Full Story

AMS is adopting as final an interim rule that decreased the assessment rate established for the Washington Apricot Marketing Committee for the 2012-13 and subsequent fiscal periods to $0.50 per ton of Washington apricots handled, from $1.50/ton. The rule decreased the assessment rate to reflect a reduction in the manager's salary and the Committee's operating expenditures. Full Notice

AMS is adopting as final an interim rule that decreased the assessment rate established for the Washington Cherry Marketing Committee for the 2012-2013 and subsequent fiscal periods to $0.18 per ton of sweet cherries handled, from $0.40/ton. The interim rule was necessary to allow the Committee to reduce its monetary reserve. Full Notice

AMS is adopting as final an interim rule that decreased the assessment rate established for the Processed Pear Committee for the 2012-2013 and subsequent fiscal periods to $7 per ton of summer/fall processed pears, from $7.73/ton. The Committee recommended the assessment rate decrease because the summer/fall processed pear promotion budget for the 2012-2013 fiscal period was reduced. Full Notice


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