business news in context, analysis with attitude

  • The Associated Press reports that Rainbow Foods plans to hire between 400 and 500 grocery baggers by the end of next week, hoping that even the cost of millions of dollars for providing bagging and carryout service will help it differentiate itself from much of the competition and increase sales. The biggest evidence that the times are changing isn’t the fact that Rainbow wants to bag groceries and carry them out to cars, but rather the idea that the company can actually find 500 baggers to hire. Seems like just yesterday that there were no people out there for supermarkets to hire…

  • A new report by Deloitte & Touche suggests that the consolidation craze that has affected so many industries is likely to have a major impact on the private label business over the next decade, as the 1,500 manufacturers that current operate in the field consolidate down to a field of no more than 20.

    In part, according to the report, this will be because of the demands put upon the manufacturers by the few major food retailers that will remain at the top of the charts; manufacturer consolidation will be necessary in order to have the economies of scale necessary to live up to the requirements of these big box players.

  • The US Senate is considering legislation that would increase the amount of information included on food labels, including how ingredients affect people with allergies. The Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act was voted out of committee back in September, and would force manufacturers to list of all major allergens, as well a step up government inspection procedures. A similar bill is being considered by the US House of Representatives Subcommittee on Health. It’ll be interesting to see what happens with the new Congress, and if this kind of legislation is taken as seriously by a GOP-controlled legislature.

  • The US Supreme Court has decided not to hear a case that challenged the ability of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) union to collect dues from one chain and then use that money to organizing at other companies.

  • Winn-Dixie announced that all of its pharmacies will now carry a product called FlavoRx, am FDA-approved medical system that permits pharmacists to flavor over 200 different prescription and over-the-counter liquid medications with more than 42 flavors. This might seem like a commercial for FlavoRx, but it’s not. It’s just as a parent, we’ve never understood why medicines taste bad at all…and this just seems like an incredibly smart idea.

  • McDonald’s pioneer Ray Kroc would have been 100 years old today. think he’s turning over in his grave…?

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