May 27, 2011

 IGA Holiday Perspective

Wishing You a Safe and Happy Memorial Day

A message to IGA Retailers from...
Mark Batenic

As we enter into Memorial Day weekend, I want to take this opportunity to thank all of you for your continual contributions to your communities, and especially those who pay tribute to our brave service men and women. In these times we would be hard-pressed to find a community in the U.S. that hasn't seen a young man or woman head off to war, and you have certainly done your part to help see your communities through.

Time and time again we hear stories about IGA Retailers being the first to host a hometown "welcome home" party or, in sad times, take up collections for the families of the fallen. That overwhelming willingness to help is precisely the reason we felt compelled to team up with the Wounded Warrior Project in our first IGA USA private brand cause marketing program. Not surprisingly we've seen a tremendous outpouring of support from Retailers, Licensed Distribution Centers and Red Oval partners alike (special thanks go out to Kraft Foods for joining in). It is that Alliance-wide compassion that has made IGA what it is today-the true Hometown Proud center of the communities it serves.

So this Memorial Day, as we gather together to recognize those who have served in the past and those who serve today, be sure to give yourself a pat on the back for all you do to help and heal your community members-both the ones who go off to war, and the ones who stay behind.


Mark Batenic

Editor's Note
: The Independent View will not publish Monday, May 30. Publication will resume Tuesday, May 31.



Retail News

Consumer expenditures for food during April increased only 0.4% from the prior month on a seasonally adjusted basis, according to data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). That is half of the 0.8% growth in March. Overall, seasonally adjusted consumer expenditures were up 0.4% between April and March, with expenditures for energy (including gasoline) leading the pack, climbing 2.3% on the heels of a 3.7% jump in March. And as noted by an economist in The Wall Street Journal, "nearly all the rise in nominal personal spending in April was due to higher prices." BEA Release, Full Story (WSJ Subscription Required)

99 Cents Only Stores plans to open at least 16 stores in its fiscal 2012, with most of its new stores expected to be opened in California. The first new stores should open in July and the majority of the store openings will be in the second half of fiscal 2012. Full Story Meanwhile, Dollar General Corp. plans to open its first stores in California in 2012. Full Story

Pershing Square Capital Management LP bought 5.8 million shares in Family Dollar Stores Inc., worth $295.8 million at the end of the quarter, according to a regulatory filing. The purchase amounts to 4.7% of Family Dollar's stock, reported The Wall Street Journal. Full Story (WSJ Subscription Required)

About 72% of consumers with smartphones use them to receive coupons, product deals and price alerts. Approximately 34% compare prices online while shopping in a store. Some 21% use product bar code scanning to find the best price, according to a mobile shopping survey by PriceGrabber. Full Story

New Product News: Friendly's is rolling out its 2011 ice cream flavor and product additions, including Thin Mints Cookie Ice Cream Cake, five new 48-oz. carton flavors and single serve ice cream cups. Full Story ... Sara Lee introduced Ball Park Deli Style Beef Franks in two varieties. Full Story ... Becker Lane Organic Farm introduced Applegate Organics Uncured Thick Cut Bacon at Whole Foods Market stores in 13 states. Full Story ... Sensient Colors LLC introduced microfine natural colors for applications including topical seasonings, dry mix beverages and powdered food applications. Full Story

Manufacturer News

Tate & Lyle will reopen its McIntosh, AL-based sucralose plant in 2013 to meet growing demand for the sweetener, reported The Associated Press. Full Story

Coca-Cola Refreshment plans to close a bottling facility in Annapolis, MD on Sept. 2, according to a filing with the state's labor department, reported Baltimore Business Journal. Full Story (Free Registration Required)

Avocados are being seen in more items and on more menus. Subway will unveil plans to roll out avocado next week as a sandwich option nationwide, sliced and as a spread. More than 75 new products made with avocado rolled out over the past five years, according to Datamonitor. Domestic avocado sales increased to 1.3 billion-lbs. in 2010, up 16%, noted the Hass Avocado Board. Burger chains may also begin embracing the fruit, claimed the director of product launch analytics at Datamonitor, reported USA Today. Full Story

Genpak LLC is looking to purchase a 215,000-sq. ft. warehouse adjacent to its Cedar City, UT operations. The $22 million expansion would provide additional warehousing and distribution facilities and could eventually could include additional manufacturing capability, reported The Salt Lake Tribune. Full Story

Heinz expects 20% of sales to come from emerging economies next fiscal year, twice as much as came from those markets six years ago. The emerging market sales were boosted by acquisitions, with the company making emerging markets "the centerpiece of our growth strategy over the next five years," stated its chairman and CEO, reported Dow Jones Newswires. Full Story

PepsiCo's Frito-Lay Modesto, CA-based facility was awarded LEED Gold existing building from the U.S. Green Building Council. More than 98% of the facility's solid waste is diverted from landfills. Full Story

Sun Capital Partners Inc. affiliate VPS Convenience Store Group acquired Virginia Oil Co., an operator of 17 convenience stores in Western Virginia. Full Story

New baked goods are delivering premium twists, global flavor adventure and never-before-seen convenience, according to the Baked Goods: Culinary Trend Mapping Report from Center for Culinary Development and Packaged Facts. Emerging trends include micro-patisseries; gougeres, cheesey cream puffs; and alfajores, a Latin American sandwich cookie. Full Story

Relief Efforts Roundup: Kellogg Company committed an additional $250,000 to support U.S. disaster relief efforts. Full Story ... Nestle Waters North America donated 800,000 bottles of water to health facilities and other relief centers in Joplin, MO. Full Story ... The CHS Foundation and CHS Inc. employees will contribute a total of $84,505 to the Cooperative Development Foundation and the American Red Cross International Disaster Relief Fund in support of Japan relief efforts. Full Story

Foodservice News

Chiquita Brands International entered into an exclusive produce partnership with the Walt Disney Co. at Disney's Florida parks, resorts and cruise lines. Chiquita will provide fruit and salad products, reported The Cincinnati Enquirer. Full Story

Jack in the Box needs to "find a way to differentiate themselves," according to a Technomic Inc. analyst. Jack in the Box's problems are exacerbated by its heavy presence in California, where unemployment remains stubbornly high, stated a SunTrust Robinson Humphrey analyst, with store upgrades and menu changes not significantly affecting the company's results. Diners with money to spend may also prefer newer chains like Chipotle or Panera Bread, reported The Los Angeles Times. Full Story (Free Registration Required)

Popeyes restaurants experienced an approximate 6% increase in food costs in its 2011 first quarter compared to last year, primarily the result of higher commodity costs, and expects food costs to increase by 4% to 5% in 2011. Full Story

Health News

Omega-3 fatty acids found in salmon and other foods may work with two blood-thinners to reduce the risk of heart attack in stent patients, according to research reported in Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology: Journal of the American Heart Association. Full Story

Washington News

FDA launched a web portal on its enforcement activities as part of Phase II of the agency's Transparency Initiative. The information includes a summary of the most common Inspectional Observations of objectionable conditions or practices made during inspections and a searchable Inspections Database that includes the names and addresses of inspected facilities, inspection dates, type of FDA-regulated products involved and final inspectional classification. Full Story

USDA will unveil a new food icon on June 2 that will replace the MyPyramid image as the government's primary food group symbol, and will be part of a nutrition communication initiative with recommendations, a new website with expanded information and other tools and resources. Full Story

Starbucks Corp. unit Seattle's Best Coffee LLC asked a bankruptcy judge to reject Borders Group Inc.'s request to end the companies' licensing agreement. The company claims Borders is not entitled to cancel the agreement and continue to use Seattle's Best's trademarks and products, reported Full Story

The median age of Americans is 37.2, according to a 2010 Census brief released by the U.S. Census Bureau. Regionally, the Northeast recorded the oldest median age at 39.2, followed by the Midwest at 37.7, the South at 37.0 and the West at 35.6. Of the total 2010 Census population, 157.0 million people were female (50.8%) and 151.8 million were male (49.2%). Full Story

The Department of Labor is submitting the Wage and Hour Division sponsored information collection request, Housing Occupancy Certificate -- Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act, to the Office of Management and Budget, and will accept comments on or before June 27 that evaluate whether the information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency. Full Notice

Global News

Mexico City's government enacted a virtual three-year moratorium on openings of grocers, convenience stores and hypermarkets to protect traditional markets and small family-run bodegas from corporate competition. Retail association Antad, whose members own 27,313 stores and restaurants nationwide, stated that its efforts to overturn the regulation in Mexican courts could take months while retailers are likely to redirect their investments to other parts of the country, reported Dow Jones Newswires. Full Story

Target Corporation revealed its initial group of Zellers sites, representing 105 locations in all 10 provinces across Canada. Full Story

The Alberta Investment Management Corp. could spend as much as $715 million on private equity acquisitions in the next 12 months, and as much as $2 billion in the next three to four years. The company is looking at a number of opportunities linked to supply chain logistics in agriculture in Latin America, reported Reuters. Full Story

Britannia Industries is attempting to transform itself from an Indian biscuit maker to a conglomerate with an array of products that span the entire food chain. The company is looking to take an increasing share of the food market in India, which is valued at around $250 billion and comprised of over 90% unbranded products, reported The Wall Street Journal. Full Story (WSJ Subscription Required)

The UK government's consumer minister published the draft Groceries Code Adjudicator Bill, looking to establish an overseer whom would be responsible for monitoring and enforcing the Groceries Supply Code of Practice. The new adjudicator would be able to act as an arbitrator in disputes between retailers and their direct suppliers. Full Story

Taiwan will tighten food-safety inspections after an emulsifying additive was found to be contaminated with an industrial plasticizer. The additive is used in fruit jelly, yogurt drinks, juices and food supplements, reported Full Story

Supermarket operator and beer maker China Resources Enterprise Ltd. is eyeing possible acquisitions, according to its CFO. The company is looking at six to seven deals in China in areas including supermarkets and beverage, but nothing overseas for the time being, reported Reuters. Full Story

Illycaffe SpA is opening boutique shops in China. The company plans to launch three to five new stores in 2012 in larger cities such as Beijing; the first Illy store is scheduled to open in Shanghai by the end of 2011. Australia-based Gloria Jeans, meanwhile, plans to open 50 stores in China in the next three years, reported China Daily. Full Story

USDA and The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to explore ways to help smallholder farmers in Africa through coordinated research, exchanges, training and development activities. The MOU includes AGRA and USDA joint efforts to promote seed development and soil enhancement, reduce crop loss, manage water resources, improve data collection, develop farmer training programs, create market information systems and improve human capacity and food-related infrastructure in Africa. Full Story

African swine fever may spread across the Northern Hemisphere if precautionary measures are not taken, warned FAO. There is currently no vaccine for the disease, which is very often lethal to pigs but is not harmful to humans. Full Story

Market News

Farm subsidies are under scrutiny as budgets face trillion-dollar gaps, reported The Lakeland Ledger. The federal government sends roughly $5 billion annually in direct cash payments to farmers of 10 different crops. Other farm spending, such as loans, subsidized insurance, conservation incentives and disaster payments, can cost an additional $5 billion to $20 billion annually. Full Story (Free Registration Required)

Spain is a large worldwide exporter of strawberries, with an industry worth more than $571 million a year. Nine out of 10 strawberries are exported to Europe. At the same time, there is not enough water in the country to supply the industry, and as many as half of all strawberry farms in the Huelva region are reportedly taking water illegally, reported BBC News. Full Story

USDA will release its Peanut Stocks and Processing report on May 27 at 3:00 p.m. EST. View Details

USDA will release its California Processing Tomato report on May 27 at 3:00 p.m. EST. View Details

The U.S. Trade Representative will terminate the remaining additional duties on certain products of member states of the EU as a result of the EU's efforts in support of a resolution in the EC-Beef Hormones dispute. The Trade Representative's action was made in advance of the August 2012 start date of the possible second phase of a 2009 Memorandum of Understanding, which the Trade Representative found to be successful in providing increased market access in the EU to U.S. beef producers. Full Notice


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