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•  The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) said at the end of last week that "in 2022, food-at-home prices are predicted to increase between 10.0 and 11.0 percent, and food-away-from-home prices are predicted to increase between 6.5 and 7.5 percent. Food prices are expected to grow more slowly in 2023 than 2022, but still above historical average rates. In 2023, food-at-home prices are predicted to increase between 2.0 and 3.0 percent, and food-away-from-home prices are predicted to increase between 3.0 and 4.0 percent."

•  The Wall Street Journal reports that both Dollar General and Dollar Tree reported higher quarterly sales last week as consumers turned to the format as a way of dealing with inflation.  "Dollar General said comparable sales, those from stores and digital channels operating at least 12 months, rose 4.6% in the quarter ended July 29," the story says, while "at Dollar Tree, which owns the Dollar Tree and Family Dollar chains, comparable sales rose 4.9% in the quarter ended July 30."

According to the Journal, "Shoppers are more often using credit cards, not cash, said Dollar Tree Chief Executive Mike Witynski on a call with analysts. They are buying more powdered detergent, which is cheaper than liquid detergent, and skipping fabric softener or detergent entirely."

“I’ve never felt better about our positioning,” said Dollar General CEO Todd Vasos, the Journal writes. “We are here to help that customer through probably the toughest time she’s seen in quite a while.”

•  The St. Louis Business Journal reports that "Schnuck Markets on Wednesday opened Schnucks Express, a convenience-focused concept offering traditional grocery items, connected to its EatWell natural food store in Columbia, Missouri.

"The St. Louis-based grocery chain said Schnucks Express is stocked with grocery staples to give customers 'a complete grocery experience,' focusing on 'customer favorites' available at traditional Schnucks stores in the Midwest."

The story elaborates:  "Schnuck Markets opened EatWell, A Natural Food Store by Schnucks, in Columbia in June 2020. EatWell focuses on natural food items, including organic produce, and local and specialty products, and includes a ramen and sushi bar, dairy, meat and deli, among other items.

"Schnucks Express has its own entrance but is also connected to EatWell. They share the space at 111 S. Providence Road in Columbia, a former Lucky's Market that Schnucks acquired for EatWell, with Schnucks Express filling 11,000 square feet of the 42,000-square-foot building."

•  Ahold Delhaize-owned Stop & Shop announced "the launch of its Deal Lock program. This new cost-saving initiative will allow customers to take advantage of sale prices longer by providing extended savings on select items for a couple of weeks at a time …  

Both national and private label brands are included in the Deal Lock program which spans all store departments and categories.  Deal Lock items will be highlighted in the circular, as well as in store with dedicated endcaps, aisle displays, shelf tags, in-store radio announcements and additional store signage - all designed to help customers spend less for longer. Customers can visit to see all the products currently part of the savings program and how long those prices will stay locked-in."

•  The New York Times reports that "Abbott Nutrition, which shut down a plant in Michigan in February amid contamination concerns, triggering a national shortage of baby formula, said on Friday that it was set to resume making its leading formula, Similac.

"With production of the formula set to ramp up at the plant in Sturgis, Mich., the company hopes to ease the shortage that left parents across the country scrambling to feed their infants.

"The shortage started earlier this year after pandemic-related supply chain issues created a scarcity of ingredients for formula, and it was further exacerbated by the trouble at the Michigan plant."

•  Bloomberg writes that "Nestle, the Swiss food giant, is launching KitKat V, a plant-based version of one of the world’s most popular chocolate bars, which began Friday with a rollout planned across 15 European countries including the United Kingdom.

"Unlike the classic KitKat, the vegan version uses a rice-based formula as a milk substitute, as first revealed by Bloomberg News. It’s one of the biggest launches of a vegan alternative of a major confectionery brand and took two years to develop … KitKat V is likely to cost more than the regular version. This is because it’s more expensive to produce, because of pricier ingredients and the need for stringent cleaning measures on production lines, Nestle said."