retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Responding to yesterday’s piece about a Forbes article about the “locavore myth,” MNB user Elizabeth Archerd wrote:

Forbes must have assigned a vegetarian writer to the locavore article.

Meat production does not require so much as an ounce of grain. Feeding grain to meat animals is a relatively recent development and pretty much a failed experiment. Progressive producers are returning to grass-based meat production which is good for the animals, soil and water, and produces a superior product. Soil depletion can be stopped and reversed by fattening beef, pigs, chickens and lambs on pasture.

Another MNB user wrote:

Under "Puncturing The Locavore Balloon (July 21)," you describe a Forbes piece that discussed the complexities of calculating the carbon footprint of food production and conclude that "What this story how difficult it is for consumers to do the right thing, or at least understand exactly what the right thing is."

But in the final paragraph of your description, you note that "Finally, Forbes reports, one of the best ways in which consumers can reduce carbon footprints is to stop eating meat: 'No matter how you slice it, it takes more energy to bring meat, as opposed to plants, to the table.'" What's so complicated about that?

Cutting meat out of one’s diet seems a little complicated to me (though I admit to be a carnivore). But I do think it is fair to say that consumers are confused about what socially responsible eating means.

And another MNB user chimed in:

The Forbes article was talking tactically…and missed the point by not thinking strategically…as you always say…

The concept is to eat foods that are not only healthy, but also safe, while at the same time grown and distributed in the most sustainable model possible (economically, humanely, humanly and environmentally)

The “Natural Foods Movement” (the sixties) became affixed to the “New American Food Economy” (recognizing connections between healthy soils, healthy foods, healthy communities, and a healthy human society) and then we began learning that “Food choices have consequences” (Pollen et al) and CPG brands began marketing natural. Consequently, a larger and larger segment of our population understands healthy eating…

Locavore, like all the other terms associated with this movement, is just a term that hopefully gets people to think…about their food purchase…not a dogmatic approach to buying food.

And MNB user Rosemary Fifield wrote:

I really don't think there is a right thing any more, and the sad thing is, my attitude is the result of all this tiresome input from both sides. I've been buying local for as long as I can remember because I can question the farmer, baker, etc. personally about how something was produced; it keeps the money in the local economy; I want my local farms and farm families to stay intact; and the food tastes better and retains its nutritional quality because it's fresh. At this point I no longer agonize over whether it's better to buy a New England apple or a New Zealand apple. I live in New England and so does the orchardist who grew the apple. That's good enough for me.

I have to be honest. I didn’t know that the guy who owns the orchard is called an “orchardist.” I learn something every day…

We had a piece yesterday about Aldi’s UK growth, which prompted one MNB user to write:

For those of us that have been in the food business for many many years we should take note of Aldi. Note that they are not only a global player but the largest. Just as many did when the first Price club opened (I was there) and blew them off, Aldi should not be blown off either. Watching them add 100 stores in Texas, Florida and in the UK companies need to wake up and take them for real. Their Store Brand program not only fits the customers, but is one of the best (many of their supplier are Walmart's Great Value suppliers). They done an outstanding job of teasing the customer with general merchandise items and being seasonally correct as well.

Two years ago while visiting with a UK retailer I asked the very most senior leader if he could take me to an Aldi. His comment was, I could if I knew where one was," their not our competition"... We did find one and man they were busy, too bad he still didn't ands hasn't taken them seriously.

As retailers keep trying to get the next customer (cause their marketing team says they should) they continue to walk way from customers and allow the Aldi's and Dollar General stores to have this business.

MNB took note yesterday of a Chicago Tribune story saying that Walmart “plans to hold a farmers market on Saturday at the vacant site where it wants to build its second Chicago store, as it steps up pressure on the city to allow it to expand. The truckloads of fresh fruits and vegetables, supplied by Wal-Mart vendors…”

One MNB user wrote:

Is this a "farmers market" they're having, or an open air produce market? Since it's being supplied by Walmart vendors, I would think it's not going to be small truck farmers selling their product from the backs of their pickups.

Finally, we got a lot of email yesterday responding to Michael Sansolo’s column about the importance of loving your customer.

But my two favorites were these…

One MNB user wrote:

I’ll have what he’s having.


And MNB user Sue DeRemer wrote:

This is why I read MorningNewsBeat.

And why we have so much fun writing it.
KC's View: