business news in context, analysis with attitude

• As expected and reported almost everywhere yesterday, Mars and Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Corp. are teaming up for a $23 billion acquisition of the Wm. Wrigley Jr. Co, creating a confectionery behemoth that some experts think will result in a series of mergers that will reshape the category.

• The Chicago Tribune notes that the price for organic milk is likely to rise in the very near future, following the lead of traditional milk, what has seen double-digit cost increases: "Many of the same factors that sent conventional milk prices soaring - climbing feed and fuel costs, for instance - are also at work in the organic world. It just takes longer for rising costs to wend their way through the organic food market because of its relatively slow-moving pricing system."
Published reports say that Bi-Lo plans to unveil a new limited assortment, discount-driven format store in North Carolina next week. The store, said to be called Food$mart, will have both national and regional brands, as well as own-label products, but will have limited sizes and what the company is calling 'limited frills:" shopping experience.

• Steve Burd, chairman/CEO of Safeway, has received the Corporate Heart of Gold Award from the American Heart Association, recognition for his work in the health care segment, his focus on reducing heart disease in his workforce, and broad efforts to reform the nation's health care system.

• The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) has launched a new website designed to provide food safety information to consumers, the media and government policymakers: www.keepfoodsafe.org.

• The Wall Street Journal this morning writes that the previously reported visits by the UK Office of Fair Trading (OFT) to Britain's largest food retailers – as it probes possible price fixing – also included "visits" to the British offices of Procter & Gamble, as well as requests for information submitted to Unilever, Reckitt Benckiser and Mars Inc.
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