April 17, 2013

 IGA Awards of Excellence Perspective

Congratulations to our 2013 President's Cup Winners!

A message to the Alliance from...
Tom Haggai

Mark Batenic

On Monday night at the IGA Awards of Excellence Ceremony in Chicago, we honored two IGA Licensed Distribution Centers (LDCs) for demonstrating true leadership and innovation in the advancement of the IGA brand in 2013.

IGA USA LDC of the Year: SUPERVALU Midwest Region — Champaign Division!

IGA's Mark Batenic (far left) and Tom Haggai (far right) present the SUPERVALU team with the award. SUPERVALU team members from left to right: Rich Morris, Bob Himango, Mike Guth, Mark Grube, Bill Chew, and Janel Haugarth

In 2012, SUPERVALU Midwest Region - Champaign Division:

Increased store count, obtained impressive percentage of Five Star ratings for its more than 95 stores, maintained a high level of IGA Exclusive Brand support, encouraged its retailers to promote their IGA brand through digital marketing, and supported IGA's Red Oval family through all available incremental marketing opportunities—all while working aggressively in the field to provide its IGA retailers with hands-on assistance to improve the IGA brand image, the customer's experience, and the store's position within the marketplace.

IGA Global LDC of the Year: New South Wales ACT Metcash Food & Grocery

IGA's Mark Batenic (from left to right) and Tom Haggai present Metcash's Silvestro Morabito and Andrew Reitzer with the 2013 IGA Global LDC of the Year President's Cup Award.

In 2012, New South Wales ACT Metcash Food & Grocery:

Opened a new state-of-the art warehouse facility designed and built with the intention to better support its independent IGA retailers both now and well into the future, and extended market share and prominence in their part of the world by acquiring the Franklins corporate stores in the state of New South Wales, Australia. Forty-three stores have already been successfully converted to IGA and sold to IGA independent retailers, who are driving sales and increasing IGA brand value throughout the areas they serve.

These IGA President's Cup Award winners are the true embodiment of "Hometown Proud" IGA partners. Throughout the course of last year they worked with IGA retailers to foster the local connections that keep the IGA brand relevant and strong, and put their retailers in a position to build lasting shopper loyalty.

Congratulations to both of our IGA LDCs of the Year!

Tom Haggai & Mark Batenic


Retail News

Tesco stated it would withdraw from the U.S., unloading the Fresh & Easy chain it set up in 2007. Tesco, wrote down the value of its global operations by $3.5 billion, as it sought to rebuild after a year in which profit fell for the first time in two decades. The group, the world's third-largest retailer after Walmart and Carrefour, stated abandoning Fresh & Easy in the U.S. would mean restructuring and other one-off costs of 1 billion pounds ($1.5 billion), reported Reuters. Full Story

Fairway Group Holdings raised $177.5 million in its initial public offering after pricing the shares above the marketed range. Fairway sold 13.65 million shares for $13 each, according to data compiled by Bloomberg, after offering them for $10 to $12, reported Bloomberg.com. Full Story

Demand for gourmet cupcakes is softening. Crumbs states sales for the full year would be down by 22% from earlier projections, and the stock slipped further this week. Crumbs in part blamed store closures from Hurricane Sandy, but others state the chain is suffering from a larger problem: gourmet-cupcake burnout. In the Crumbs earnings report last week, the company's CEO stated Sandy-related closures cost it $700,000 in lost sales in the last quarter of 2012. Crumbs also indicated that certain locations "incapable of reaching acceptable levels of financial performance" would need to close. The report didn't specify how many might close, reported The Wall Street Journal. Full Story (WSJ Subscription Required)

Ninety-four percent of Americans indicate they will remain cautious and keep their spending for food and beverages at its current level, even as the economy improves, according to Deloitte's 2013 American Pantry Study. Some 92% of consumers stated they have become more resourceful, and 86% are getting more precise in what they buy; those attitudes have remained consistent in the three years Deloitte has conducted the study. Eighty-eight percent of survey respondents report they have found several store brands that are just as good as national brands, and only 27% plan to switch back as the economy rebounds, an eight percentage point decline from the previous year. Full Story

TGIC Importers assigned its California distribution to Young's Market Company effective May 1. The move builds upon the two companies' existing partnership in Arizona, Hawaii, Oregon, Utah, Idaho and Washington. TGIC-owned Titan Wine and Spirits, the importer's current California distributor, will continue to represent more than 70 fine wine and spirits brands in accord with its business plan structured for further portfolio growth. Full Story

New Store News: Costco Wholesale is under contract to buy 17 acres in the Presidio Junction development where it plans its fourth Tarrant County, TX location, reported Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Full Story ... Giant Food Stores opened a Havertown, PA store that features a Beer Garden and Eatery at the 76,000-sq.-ft. location, reported Philadelphia Business Journal. Full Story... Atlas Oil will open its new convenience store concept, Earth Market, in Frankfort, IL, reported Convenience Store Decisions. Full Story

Manufacturer News

Procter & Gamble is planning to add weeks to the amount of time it takes to pay its suppliers, a shift that could free up as much as $2 billion in cash, people familiar with the matter stated. P&G could use that cash to fund investments in new factories overseas or to help pay for stock buybacks. That added flexibility, however, will come at the expense of the companies that supply P&G with materials or services. The suppliers will have to tie up more of their own cash in receivables or eat the interest costs charged by banks to bridge the gap until P&G pays its bills, reported The Wall Street Journal. Full Story (WSJ Subscription Required)

New Product News: Tessemae's All Natural introduced new Roasted Chopped Garlic spreads. The three flavors: Original, Cracked Pepper and Mediterranean are marinated and slow roasted. All three Roasted Chopped Garlic flavors are available at Whole Foods worldwide and at www.Tessemaes.com. Full Story... Lance is adding Xtra Fulls Toastchee and Xtra Fulls Toasty, as well as product extensions for its Cracker Creations, Captain's Wafers sandwich crackers and Nekot Sandwich cookies. Full Story... Pretzelmaker has two new flavors of Pretzel Bites: Buffalo Blue Cheese and Cracked Pepper& Sea Salt. Full Story

Executives on the Move: Avitae USA hired Norman E. Snyder as the Company's new president and CEO. Full Story... NTN Buzztime appointed Kirk Nagamine as its new chief revenue officer. Full Story... Price Chopper named Troy Johnson vice president of deli/foodservice, reported Supermarket News. Full Story

Foodservice News

McDonald's franchisees are objecting to requests from corporate to improve customer service and possibly sales. The franchisees, strained by smaller margins from McDonald's value-oriented strategy, view the request to "smile more" as just the latest order from a demanding McDonald's. Independent owners control roughly 90% of the chain's 14,000 domestic restaurants, and a sampling of them characterized their relationship with corporate as 1.93 on a scale of zero to five, reported Crain's Chicago Business. Full Story (Free Registration Required)

Doritos Locos Tacos enabled Taco Bell to hire 15,000 employees last year, according to company CEO Greg Creed. The cross-promotional item, launched in march 2012, was purchased 375 times, or slightly more than one million per day. "We believe we can add 2,000 new restaurants in the next 10 years, because what we have is proprietary and exclusive. Nobody else can make a Cool Ranch Doritos Taco. And that's just in the U.S.," Mr. Creed told The Daily Beast, reported ABCNews. Full Story

Restaurant Roundup: Joe's Pizza opened a new Joe's Pizza in the Union Square section of New York City, marking the first expansion of the landmark pizza establishment founded in 1975. Full Story... An American barbecue chain will open its newest location in Winchester, VA Full Story and the Sacramento, CA area. Full Story

Health News

Food packages with any sodium claim resulted in more positive attitudes toward the claim and the product healthfulness than did packages with a taste control claim, although all mock packages were identical nutritionally, found a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Having hypertension increased ratings related to product healthfulness and purchase intentions, but there was no difference in reported understanding between hypertensives and normotensives. Study Abstract

Washington News

A bipartisan group of senators unveiled proposals for immigration reform that would remove the threat of deportation for undocumented workers and allow them to become U.S. citizens. The proposed bill would give farm laborers a faster path toward U.S. citizenship than other undocumented workers. The bill would give legal status to undocumented workers who were employed in agriculture in the past two years, reported Reuters. Full Story

Claims of unpaid fuel rebates apparently led to the raid on the headquarters of Pilot Flying J as part of a federal criminal investigation, according to the company's CEO. Pilot Flying J does business with about 3,300 trucking companies, reported Knoxville News Sentinel. Full Story

Wegmans Food Markets is recalling approximately 1,100 affected units of Wegmans Food You Feel Good About Roasted Red Pepper Dip because some tubs may not list milk and eggs on the label. Full Story

Global News

UK supermarkets have become one-stop shops for 8 million consumers, according to a survey commissioned by finance giant Santander. They are being encouraged to purchase all their nonfood items from supermarkets, as well as the weekly grocery shop, by convenience, cost and rewards such as loyalty points. The findings reveal that 98% of Britons buy at least some nonfood items from supermarkets, reported DailyMail.co.uk. Full Story

Nearly 5% of European "beef" products were contaminated with horse meat, and the percentage was sharply higher in a few countries such as France and Greece. The EU, Switzerland and Norway organized Europe-wide tests in February after horse-meat DNA was found in products labeled as beef in a number of countries. The authorities found 200 positive samples out of 4,497 tested, or 4.4%. Nearly a quarter of all positive tests in the 27 EU nations occurred in France, while Greek samples accounted for nearly 20% of all EU positive tests, reported The Wall Street Journal. Full Story (WSJ Subscription Required)

Hong Kong supermarket prices have risen by an average of 6.8% over the past year, with eggs, infant formula and canned fish soaring above the prices of other household basics, according to a survey from The Consumer Council. The highest average increases were seen in the prices of canned fish, which leapt 18.1%; eggs, up 17.5%; and milk powder, which was 17.3% higher. The only decline was in alcoholic drinks, whose prices fell 5%, reported South China Morning Post. Full Story

The increasing number of new H7N9 avian influenza in China could pose meaningful risk to the U.S. protein and restaurant industries, according to Fitch Ratings. Among the most exposed are firms with a growing presence in China, such as YUM! Brands, McDonald's, Tyson Foods, and JBS S.A. Fitch thinks rising consumer fears around avian influenza in China, or elsewhere, could cause a meaningful pullback in chicken consumption with fewer restaurant visits, lower retail chicken sales, and reduced export activity. Full Story

Meanwhile, China intends to speed up the improvement of food safety standards and clarify existing standards by the end of the year, according to the State Council. Other food safety efforts, including intensifying supervision of various sectors, severe punishments for safety violations and improving the credit system system, will also see an increase in efforts this year, reported China Daily. Full Story

The Japanese ice cream sector can expect positive growth over the next five years, according to Canadean Group. Artisanal ice cream should display the most growth, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 1.6% to 2017. The artisanal category of ice cream held a value share of 16.2% and a volume share of 23.4% for 2012. Hypermarkets and supermarkets remain the top channels for the sector over the past few years, reported FoodBev.com. Full Story

Canada Bread Company plans to close its bakery in Shawinigan, Quebec. The closure will improve efficiencies in Canada Bread's network by reducing overhead and supporting a focus on higher margin products and new market opportunities. The Shawinigan bakery produces a variety of snack cakes under the Chevalier, Cadbury and Obsession brands. The company closes the facility May 3. Full Story

Market News

U.S. hog farmers may produce a record amount of pork as exports slump the worst in more than a decade, prolonging a global glut into a fifth consecutive year. USDA estimates the 10.66 million metric tons produced will be the most since at least 1970, while exports fell 14% in the first two months, the most for the period in government data since 2000. Futures may drop 19% to 72 cents/lb. by the end of the year on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, based on the median of nine trader and analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Demand for pork from the U.S., the biggest exporter, is weakening as importers from South Korea to Japan expand domestic output and China and Russia stop purchasing meat produced with the feed additive ractopamine. Full Story

The first crops of this year's harvest in New Jersey are nearly ready. Scott Walker of Jersey Asparagus and Walker Bros. farms in Pittsgrove stated this year's asparagus crop has peeked its head above the soil and should be ready for harvesting this week. Over at Mood's Farm Market in Mullica Hill, peach and plum trees started blooming last week. According to another farmer, strawberries will be ready the first week of May, reported NJ.com. Full Story

California almond growers lost at least $70 million due to high power winds reaching speeds of 50-miles-per-hour. The 2% crop loss, or about 50-lbs. of nuts per acre, was experienced statewide, according to an assessment by the Blue Diamond Member Relations Manager, reported Western Farm Press. Full Story

Prices for fluid milk at retail food stores rose 11.6% in 2007 and 6% in 2008, according to ERS' Households' Choices Among Fluid Milk Products: What Happens When Income and Prices Change? report. When prices increase or incomes fall, households tend to switch to less expensive product - those that have a lower fat content or by switching from organic to conventional milk. However, when incomes increase, households do not always buy more expensive product. Full Story

Researchers successfully transformed cellulose into starch, shedding light on a previously untapped nutrient source from plants not traditionally thought of as food crops, according to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The research explores the idea that food can be created from any plant and could reduce land-grown crops that require fertilizers, pesticides and water, reported Science Daily. Full Story

Farmers are increasingly working with organizations to introduce flowers and plants to help feed bees. One organization, "Project Apis m." created the Seeds for Bees program to contribute to bee nutrition, reported California Farm Bureau Federation. Full Story


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