business news in context, analysis with attitude

With brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary…

•  From Bloomberg:

"The Michigan attorney general’s office is telling Kroger Co. to be more direct with its shoppers about which of its eggs are cage-free.

"'On behalf of Michigan consumers, I urge you to add clear signage to your stores to help consumers understand which eggs, exactly, came from caged chickens and which did not,' Jason Evans, chief of the law-enforcement agency’s corporate oversight division, said in a March 23 letter to Kroger Chief Executive Officer Rodney McMullen.

"The letter cited a February report by Data for Progress, a think tank and polling firm that found that 'Kroger consumers seem confused and often misled by the marketing of eggs.' In the firm’s survey of 646 Kroger customers, 53% said they would like to see signs differentiating between eggs from caged and cage-free hens.

"Kroger didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment."

•  From the Wall Street Journal:

"McDonald’s Corp. has temporarily closed its U.S. offices this week and has started informing corporate employees about layoffs being made by the burger giant as part of a broader company restructuring.

"Some McDonald’s workers began to hear about the fate of their jobs Monday. The company’s corporate vice president of insurance said he was informed Monday that his position was being eliminated and he was leaving the company after 20 years."

The story notes that "the Chicago-based fast-food chain said in an internal email last week to U.S. employees and some international staff that they should work from home from Monday through Wednesday so it can deliver staffing decisions virtually. The company, in the message, asked employees to cancel all in-person meetings with vendors and other outside parties at its headquarters."

McDonald's is just one of many companies engaged in what is called a "workforce reassessment" as executives consider the implications of a global economic slowdown.

Am I wrong, or is it kind of gutless to tell everybody not to come into the office so these meetings can be held virtually?  McDonald's says it is doing it this way "to ensure the comfort and confidentiality of our people during the notification period."  But is sounds to me like it really is trying to ensure the comfort of the folks delivering the bad news.

Reminds me of "Up In The Air," the great George Clooney movie, in which a company that handles layoffs for corporations decides that it is more efficient to do so via video.  (If you've never seen "Up In The Air," you should - it is a terrific piece of filmmaking.)

•  Albertsons announced that it "has partnered with global financial services technology leader FIS, which represents supplemental health benefits administrators including Fresh Connect, PayForward and WEX that utilize its technology payment platform. Additionally, Albertsons Cos. is entering into a partnership to accept benefit cards from Soda Health, which works to improve health equity by tailoring benefits based on individual needs. Customers with FIS and Soda Health-integrated benefit cards will now be able to make purchases on eligible food and health items at Albertsons Cos. banner stores including Safeway, Albertsons, Jewel-Osco, Vons, Shaw’s, Tom Thumb and ACME."

"Soda Health" sounds like an oxymoron.