business news in context, analysis with attitude

•  The Orlando Sentinel reports that Q2 "sales at Publix grew to $12.9 billion … but the company’s earnings fell.  The Lakeland-based grocer’s sales were up 9.3% in the quarter, compared with $11.8 billion in the same quarter the year before.

"Net earnings for the three-month period were $628.4 million, down 37.7% from $1 billion in 2021."  Q2 same-store sales rose 7.8 percent.

•  The Associated Press reports that the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced new proposed regulations "that would force food processors to reduce the amount of salmonella bacteria found in some raw chicken products or risk being shut down" by declaring "salmonella an adulterant — a contaminant that can cause food-borne illness — in breaded and stuffed raw chicken products."

According to the story, "USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety Sandra Eskin said it marks the beginning of a broader agency effort to curtail illnesses caused by the salmonella bacteria, which sickens 1.3 million Americans each year. It sends more than 26,000 of them to hospitals and causes 420 deaths, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data."

•  From the Wall Street Journal:

"Whatever you come in hoping to eat, restaurants want it to be chicken.

"Big chains are advertising it, cooking up new flavors and pushing poultry hard at the register in these inflationary times. Restaurant owners say they can often make more profit per order on white meat than beef. And consumers are still buying up crispy chicken sandwiches, industry data show.

"Panera Bread, Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen and other chains have added new chicken sandwiches to their menus in recent months to attract consumers. KFC, Wendy’s Co. and Burger King have each spent tens of millions of dollars advertising their chicken sandwiches on national television this year, according to ad-measurement firm Inc. McDonald’s Corp. and other chain executives have pointed to poultry items as a means to boost sales among U.S. consumers.

"Panera Chief Executive Niren Chaudhary said introducing the chain’s first chicken-breast sandwiches in March helped attract more men looking for a substantial meal than the company has traditionally attracted, and the items are now the chain’s most popular sandwiches."

•  From CNBC:

"PepsiCo announced Monday a $550 million investment in energy drink maker Celsius Holdings as part of a long-term distribution deal with the smaller company … Celsius is expecting to gain more shelf space in existing retailers and expand more into independent stores, such as gas stations. Pepsi will assist with the distribution starting Monday.

"Pepsi’s investment in Celsius translates to a minority stake of roughly 8.5% in the company. The food and beverage giant will also nominate a director to serve on Celsius’ board.

"Celsius, which was founded in 2005, has reported explosive growth for its energy drinks during the pandemic. In the first quarter, its U.S. revenue soared 217% to $123.5 million."