business news in context, analysis with attitude

  • The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that Giant Eagle has launched a gasoline price war, expanding a gas reward program to 55 supermarkets and giving shoppers significant discounts on fuel based on food purchases. The goal is to entice customers with low-priced fuel, which has a low margin anyway, and then get them to buy higher margin products in the store.

  • Jerel Golub, vice president of marketing for upstate New York-based Price Chopper, said yesterday at the National Retail Federation (NRF) convention that the company has doubled its consumer research budget, targeted at better using its loyalty marketing data.

  • IGA has announced the three winners of the 2005 IGA President’s Cup Award: Kentucky-based Laurel Grocery Co., Connecticut-based Bozzuto’s, and IGA Distribution of Queensland, Australia.

  • The Financial Times reports that European Union officials are warning food companies that if they don’t stop advertising junk food to children, the government will impose regulations that will prevent them from doing so.

    The EU also wants companies to make food labels clearer to consumers.

  • USA Today reports that the Coca-Cola Co. is moving ahead with an aggressive product rollout plan this year, including a diet soda called Coke Zero that would be sweetened with sucralose; regular Coke with lime; Vault, which would be designed to compete with Pepsi’s Mountain Dew; new Dasani waters, flavored with lemon and raspberry; and Full Throttle, a new energy drink positioned to compete with Red Bull.

  • The Florida department of Agriculture has pledged to launch a marketing campaign to convince consumers that despite the wreckage caused by last year’s hurricane season, there actually is a tomato glut with plenty of high-quality tomatoes for sale.

    In fact, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the problem is so bad that Florida growers are destroying their crops – over the past two weeks, some 60 million pounds of tomatoes have been destroyed, and there are estimates that the industry has lost $40 million to date.

KC's View:
We’d pay attention to the Florida Agriculture Commission if we were you. His name is Charles Bronson.