retail news in context, analysis with attitude

• In Toronto, the Globe and Mail reports that Loblaw is “locked in a crucial battle” with 30,000 unionized employees with which it is negotiating on a new contract - with fresh pressure on the situation because the growth of discount chains in the sector means that in 2011, for the first time, there will be more non-union supermarket employees in the region than unionized employees.

Which means, according to the story, that Loblaw believes that it is at a disadvantage ... and is pushing the unions to make concessions that will help it fight off the competition.

• Guiding Stars, the nutritional labeling system, announced that its program has been adopted by the three-store Bud’s Shop ’n Save chain in Dexter, Pittsfield and Newport, Maine.

In addition, Sebasticook Valley Hospital, in Pittsfield, Maine, announced that it will become the first hospital in the nation to adopt the Guiding Stars system.

The Guiding Stars system uses a proprietary algorithm to evaluate every product sold in the supermarket and then award one, two or three stars to those products making the grade as good, better and best in terms of nutritional value.

• The Boston Herald reports that the Boston Beer Co., maker of Sam Adams Boston Lager, is unveiling “the Samuel Adams Boston Lager Cut, a new, premium cut of ‘humanely raised’ beef, in partnership with Dickson’s Farmstand Meats,” designed to be the best kind of beef to serve with its beer.
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