retail news in context, analysis with attitude

• The Associated Press reports that Chobani, which virtually created a Greek yogurt segment, inventing category that now accounts of more than one-third opt all US yogurt sales (up from one percent six years ago), is paying for a place on the big stage. The company has announced that it will be advertising on this year's Super Bowl, with an ad that will be "more than 30 seconds and mark the start of a more aggressive marketing strategy."

The cost of the ad placement is expected to be in excess of $3.5 million.

Not that you care, but I have to chime in here that I find Chobani's Orange Vanilla and Key Lime varieties to be utterly delicious …they've quickly become my favorites.

• The food supply and prices could be in for a rough time, the writes, as "unseasonably cold weather continues to blanket western states" and "farmers are bracing for potentially painful damage to crops and livestock that could drive up consumer prices.

"The true effect won't be known for weeks, but growers such as California's citrus farmers are working through the nights trying to protect $2 billion worth of fruit … The fear is a repeat of catastrophic winters in 1990 and 1998 that cost the citrus industry hundreds of millions of dollars and left thousands of farmhands out of work. Early indications suggest the weather won't be as bad this time, with warming expected in the following days."

• Safeway Inc. announced that it has donated 2,000 netbooks to Oakland Unified School District’s  (OUSD), via a cash grant that was used to buy the equipment.

“Safeway’s generous donation is a critical component of our focus on helping all of Oakland’s high school students prepare for real life,” says OUSD Acting Superintendent Gary Yee. “ While the netbooks serve as an instructional tool across the curriculum, students will be gaining crucial technological skills and experience on a daily basis. These netbooks will enable our students to use the Internet for research and to track their grades, practice for the SAT, ACT and CAHSEE and actively monitor their high school trajectory to ensure that they are on track to graduate.”

I love it when companies do this, and when school districts embrace the future. Though I have to admit that I am girding for the eventual story about how students used the equipment to hack into school records, play video games, and even gain access to the US military supercomputer called WOPR. We all know how that goes…

Reuters reports that "dairy products producer WhiteWave Foods Co. said it would buy organic food brand Earthbound Farm from investors including private equity firm Kainos Capital for about $600 million to expand its offerings of organic products.

"Earthbound Farm produces packaged salads and organic fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables, as well as dried fruits and snacks. Its sales are expected to top $500 million in 2013, WhiteWave said on Monday."
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