business news in context, analysis with attitude

With brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary…

•  From Bloomberg:

"The resilient American shopper is showing more signs of weakness.

"Over the past year, many US consumers responded to surging inflation by trading down to cheaper options. But now they’re just going without, said Sean Connolly, chief executive officer of Conagra Brands Inc., during an earnings call.

"The behavioral shift began shortly after the Easter holiday in early April, he said.

'Importantly, where we see it, it is usually not a trade down to lower-priced alternatives within the category; rather, it’s an overall category slowdown,' he said. Connolly added that he expects the behavior is short term and that 'people aren’t eating less'."  Instead, the story suggests, people are "burning through" the food they have at 

home and wasting less.

Which is a good thing?  Except, I guess, for CPG companies' earnings calls, on which many seem to reporting less movement of volume and higher sales largely attributable to price increases.

I guess the question that remains to be answered is whether in some cases the price increases have disenfranchised enough shoppers that volume numbers won't come back as the economy settles into what now is largely expected to be a soft landing.

•  The Irish News reports that four Musgrave-owned Supervalu and Centra stores in Northern Ireland will begin stocking a limited selection of private label products from rival Marks & Spencer.

According to the story, "A select range of M&S Food will be available in two SuperValu and two Centra stores during the trial, including fresh sandwiches, salads and fruit pots, dine-in options, deli choices, Percy Pig sweets and Colin the Caterpillar cakes.

"All four locations will feature an in-store bakery offering M&S baked goods.

However, there are no plans at this time for any M&S stores to carry Musgrave own-label items.

The move will give M&S an expanded footprint in Northern Ireland, and potentially a much greater presence if the test works and is expanded:  "There are 141 SuperValu and Centra stores in the north, while M&S has 22 sites."

•  FMI-The Food Industry Association yesterday announced that "its food safety management program, Safe Quality Food (SQF), successfully completed a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) pilot program and that the SQF Food Safety Code: Food Manufacturing, Edition 9 plus the SQF Addendum for the Preventive Controls for Human Food Rule are in alignment with the Preventive Controls for Human Foods Rule, one of the key rules under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) … Throughout the pilot, SQF demonstrated how its process relates to more than 500 aspects of the Preventive Controls for Human Food Rule. This recognition should give buyers confidence that SQF audits – the SQF Food Safety Code: Food Manufacturing, Edition 9, plus the SQF Addendum for the Preventive Controls for Human Food Rule – generally address FDA’s food safety requirements."