business news in context, analysis with attitude

...with brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary…

• The Wall Street Journal has a story this morning suggesting that one of the central ways that traditional bricks-and-mortar retailers are competing effectively with e-commerce companies is by stressing produce - it is about aesthetics, selection and a local orientation that differentiates companies' approach to fruits and vegetables.

According to the story, "Many customers decide where to shop based on the quality of the produce, and - for now - most shoppers want to pick their own ripe tomatoes or perfectly green heads of lettuce, say grocers and industry researchers. Shoppers who don’t buy groceries online most often cite the desire to pick their own produce as the reason, according to an online survey from Morgan Stanley earlier this year."

The story also notes that this is not an either/or proposition, pointing out that both Walmart and Ahold Delhaize, which have made considerable investments in e-commerce, also have made fruits and vegetables central to their bricks-and-mortar tactical decisions.

• The Battle Creek Enquirer reports that Kellogg Co. will spend $429 million "to buy a controlling stake in Parati Group, a Brazilian food company ... marking the company's fourth major acquisition in emerging markets in the past two years ... Among the brands under Parati's umbrella are Pádua, Minueto, Zoo Cartoon, Hot Cracker biscuits, Trink powdered beverages, Parati Lamen instant noodles and Parati dried pasta."

Kellogg chairman/CEO John Bryant said in a prepared statement that "with its outstanding portfolio of popular consumer brands, Parati Group is an excellent strategic fit for Kellogg and our business in Latin America. Brazil is the largest economy in Latin America and this acquisition will allow us to accelerate our growth and improve our margins in the region."

Full disclosure: Kellogg Co. is a regular and valued MNB sponsor.
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