August 31, 2012

 IGA CEO Perspective

We Appreciate the Work
You Do...

A message to the IGA Alliance from...
Mark Batenic

All across the U.S. this weekend people will be celebrating the end of summer with cookouts, picnics and neighborhood potlucks, which means an extremely busy weekend for IGA retailers and their teams. When the festivities subside, however, I hope you have a moment to think about the true meaning behind the Labor Day holiday. Labor Day pays tribute to the contributions and achievements of the people who work hard each and every day to make this country a great place to live, and I know I don't have to tell you that IGA retailers and their store teams fit the bill in every way!

Today I wanted to take this opportunity to tell our retailers and store employees in the U.S. and overseas how much we appreciate the work you do day to day to make the IGA brand strong and to be a true center in the markets you serve. All around the world people know IGA to be the brand of choice for shoppers who want a personalized, community-focused shopping experience, and it is your Hometown Proud way of doing business that has made it so.

At the same time, I'd also like to thank our wholesalers and Red Oval family manufacturing and service provider partners. Your hard work and support creates more sales and profit potential for our dedicated IGA retailers, helping them to thrive in even the most competitive of marketplaces, and giving them the resources they need to provide the best shopping experience possible for their loyal IGA shoppers.

It's true what we say: Together we are better, and we're getting better every day!

Again, thanks for all you do for the brand, and most of all, for IGA shoppers! Have a safe and happy Labor Day holiday!

Mark Batenic

Editor's Note
: The Independent View will not publish on Labor Day, Sept. 3. Publication will resume Tuesday, Sept. 4.


Retail News

Hy-Vee opened its first gold-level LEED certified convenience store on Aug. 30. The gasoline station and convenience store is a first in Lawrence, KS and the first for the Hy-Vee corporation to receive gold-level LEED status, reported Full Story

Twitter is looking to harvest the content of tweets by giving advertisers the capability to target to people based on what they are saying and whom they follow. Its new product, which was beta-tested by brands including Walgreens but launched on Aug. 30, consists of about 350 specific interests in 25 broad categories, reported Advertising Age. Full Story (Free Registration Required)

Shoppers appreciate the speed and efficiency of self-checkout (SCO), recognize the choice of SCO as a customer-service differentiator and are eager to have more SCO options at retail segments like convenience stores and mass merchants, according to NCR. About half of grocery shoppers polled were using SCO and half using cashier-assisted checkout, and a majority of both groups, 78% and 60% respectively, stated "it's usually faster than going through a cashier-assisted line." Full Story

Belle Foods is implementing signs with a color-coded guide to note healthy attributes of products sold in the store. The labels will indicate up to four different characteristics, such as gluten free, sugar free, heart healthy or low carb. Each attribute will be assigned a color code that will allow customers to know about the product with a quick glance at the "Simply Healthy" shelf label for the product, reported Troy Messenger. Full Story

Executives on the Move: Roundy's has named Don P. Hamblen as the new chief marketing officer. Full Story

Manufacturer News

Sunwin Stevia International entered into a worldwide stevia distribution agreement with WILD Flavors GmbH. Under the terms of the agreement, WILD is granted the non exclusive worldwide right as a distributor to market and resell all stevia products manufactured by Sunwin and use of all trademarks. In conjunction with the agreement, WILD also acquires an additional 7.67 million shares in exchange for its stake in Sunwin USA and granting Sunwin exclusive ownership of certain flavor formulations for use with Sunwin's stevia extracts developed by WILD. Full Story

PepsiCo is testing a new mix of artificial sweeteners that lets the soda keep its taste for a longer period of time. The current sweetener, aspartame, loses its potency faster than high fructose corn syrup and is sensitive to heat, and the company considered importing versions of Diet Pepsi sold in other countries to the U.S. Pepsi is now testing a new version that could come out next year and is intended to have the same overall taste through a mix of artificial sweeteners, including ace-K, with a longer shelf life, reported The Associated Press. Full Story

Waukesha, WI-based wholesale bakery Cybros The Sprouted Bakehouse will to move to Milwaukee's Menomonee Valley Industrial Center. The maker of sprouted-grain rolls, bread and buns tentatively agreed to buy 1.89 acres in the industrial center from the city, and will build a 25,000-sq.-ft. facility there. The company now operates a 7,000-sq.-ft. facility, and the bakery could eventually be expanded to 40,000-sq.-ft. The company hopes to begin construction this fall, with the project completed by late spring, reported Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. Full Story

Diet Coke is getting a makeover this fall. The can design features a section of the Diet Coke logo, cropped to feature the "D" and the "k," set against the brand's signature silver backdrop. It will appear on store shelves in September. Full Story

New Product News: Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market introduced several more Green Things products, its environmentally-friendly line of cleaning and paper products adding several hand soaps, cleaners, reusable cleaning cloths and sponges. Full Story ... Joe DiMaggio, LLC teamed with AriZona Beverages to launch Joltin' Joe, which will be available nationwide from mid-September. The product is a lightly carbonated espresso drink sweetened with sucralose. Full Story

Foodservice News

TCBY plans to almost triple its Chicago presence within five years, opening 25 stores in the area in the next three to five years. The Colorado-based chain has 15 locations in the Chicago area and Northwest Indiana. TCBY recently opened six self-serve locations, with three more in development, and all new locations will be self-serve, reported Crain's Chicago Business. Full Story (Free Registration Required)

Sodexo will transition to cage-free eggs for all of the 39 million shelled eggs it purchases each year by July 2014. Full Story

Seattle's Best Coffee locations across North America will feature a bacon-flavored coffee. The coffee is flavored with bacon-flavored syrup and pumpkin pie spice, with garnishes of candied oven-baked bacon, reported New York Daily News. Full Story

Soft music and dim lights in fast food restaurant can help diners enjoy their meal more and eat less, according to a study published in the journal Psychological Reports. "When we softened the lights and softened the music in the restaurant it didn't change what people ordered, but what it did do was lead them to eat less and made them more satisfied and happier," according to Brian Wansink, a professor of marketing and consumer behavior at Cornell University, reported Reuters. Full Story

Restaurant Roundup: Rubio's Restaurants introduced two blackened and grilled seafood dishes. Full Story

Health News

Obese patients consuming a low-carb diet lost an average of almost 18-lbs. in six months to a year, according to a review of 17 different studies published in the journal Obesity Reviews, reported USA Today. Full Story

Women who drink a lot of sweet sodas during pregnancy may be more likely to give birth prematurely, claims a new study published in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The study, of more than 60,000 pregnant women in Norway, found that those who drank one sugary soda a day were up to 25% more likely to give birth prematurely than those who avoided the sweetened drinks, reported Reuters. Full Story

Washington News

Exports of U.S. food and agricultural products are expected to reach $143.5 billion in fiscal 2013, well above the record set in 2011. At the same time, the forecast for fiscal 2012 is revised upward to a near-record $136.5 billion. Since 2009, U.S. agricultural exports have made gains of 50%. Full Story

USDA gave more than $18 million in grants to organizations across 24 states that will help beginning farmers and ranchers with the training and resources needed to run productive, sustainable farms. Full Story

Klement Sausage Company initiated a voluntary recall of approximately 2,920-lbs. of frozen bratwurst patties because they may contain foreign materials. Full Story

Global News

Carrefour's CEO outlined plans to reduce financial costs and review the company's operations in some markets, and confirmed 500 to 600 jobs cuts via voluntary departures. The executive will prioritize lowering the company's financial costs, particularly the cost of its debt, refocusing on key markets like China and Latin America while reviewing its operations in other countries such as Poland, Indonesia and Turkey. Carrefour's hypermarkets will not become smaller, but will showcase products on the floor such as home appliances that can be sold both in stores and online, reported The Wall Street Journal. Full Story (WSJ Subscription Required)

Jumeirah Restaurants has signed two franchise agreements that will see Urbano, its Italian restaurant concept, to Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman and Turkey. Urbano already is present in Dubai. Full Story

Italian food company Barilla hopes to offset sluggish demand in Europe by focusing on its core pasta business globally. The company plans to boost its brand recognition in the US by launching a new chain of Barilla-branded restaurants next year, according to company chairman Guido Barilla. Barilla is also shedding noncore assets; it has put a German bread maker on the block after selling a Spanish bakery-products producer. However, despite the company's current focus on pasta, it still makes several oven-baked products, reported The Wall Street Journal. (WSJ subscription required) Full Story

India-based Brown Tree Retail has launched an online shopping site. Along with a wide range of dry fruits, the online shopping store also provides options of purchasing products like spices, organic food, health food, roasted snacks, sugar-free products, low-fat products, coffees, teas, chemical-free vegetables and juices & syrups. Brown Tree currently operates eight stores. The site gives more consumers access to its products. Full Story

The technology China uses to grow and process tropical fruit may contribute to the country's thriving cooperation with Africa. Chinese experts stated the country is ready to aid the largely tropical continent using relevant technology, reported China Daily. Full Story

Market News

Apples are in New York City's Greenmarket earlier, due to the longer, warmer summer, but is likely to have less crunch and fainter skins from the heat. In New York, the harvest is expected to be down 54% from last year, to 14 million bushels, reported The New York Times on the web. Full Story (NYT Subscription Required)

Peanut stocks reported in commercial storage on July 31 totaled 1.0 billion-lbs. Of equivalent farmer stock, compared with 1.52 billion-lbs. a year ago. This total includes 273 million-lbs. Of actual farmer stock. USDA Report

CASS will release its Processing Tomato report today, Aug. 31, at 3 p.m. (EST). Full Story

The Czech hops harvest is expected to decrease 26% to 4,500 metric tons, from 6,088 metric tons in 2011, due to freezing temperatures in February and a drought in spring. Authorities claim there are enough supplies following the exceptionally high harvests of the previous two years, and that prices are unlikely to rise, according to the chairman of the Hop Growers Union of the Czech Republic, reported The Associated Press. Full Story

The price of soybeans hit at an all-time high on Aug. 30 on expectations that Tropical Storm Isaac may cause more damage to crops that already have been battered by the drought, according to The Associated Press. Soybeans for September delivery rose 9 cents to finish at $17.7025 per bushel. That topped the previous record high of $17.575 per bushel set July 20. The most active contract, for November delivery, rose 10.5 cents to end at $17.635 per bushel. Full Story

Fruit Growers News released its NJ produce industry outlook for fall 2012. The 2012 fall produce season is underway and should be highlighted by good quantities of high-quality produce available for wholesale and retail purchase. This is the third season in a row that weather has had a major effect on the season, and is very similar to two years ago. Full Story

North Carolina sweet potato grower-shippers are getting an early start to harvesting. Some growers are beginning light harvesting and growers expect harvesting to begin in earnest after Labor Day, reported The Packer Online. Full Story


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