retail news in context, analysis with attitude

• The Bergen Record reports that Inserra Supermarkets, which owns and operates 22 ShopRite stores in New York and New Jersey, plans to open a PriceRite store in Garfield, NJ, in a former A&P. It is Inserra's first PriceRite, though Wakefern - which originated the low-price format - has 55 of them in six other states.

As the Record, "While the ShopRite brand was built on low prices, PriceRite's motto is 'impossibly, incredibly, inconceivably low prices everyday.' The brand, which was launched by Wakefern in Massachusetts in 1995, competes with limited assortment, budget chains such as Aldi rather than full-service supermarkets."

• The Food Marketing Institute (FMI) yesterday announced the 25 finalists in the Supermarket Chef Showdown, the competition that is scheduled to be held at this year's FMI Connect trade show in Chicago, scheduled for June 10-13.

According to FMI, "the finalists represent retailers from across the country, including: Balducci’s, Dorothy Lane Market, Inc., Farm Fresh Supermarkets, Foodland Super Market, Ltd., FRESH by Brookshire’s, Fry’s Food Stores, Hy-Vee, Inc., Kowalski’s Markets, The Kroger Co., Meijer, Inc., Orchard Fresh, Publix Super Markets, Inc., Roche Bros. Supermarkets, Co., ShopRite, Whole Foods Market, and Winn-Dixie. The reigning champion from the 2012 competition, Keoni Chang from Foodland Super Market, will also return to defend his title."

The 25 finalists, FMI said, "entered their recipes in one of five categories: Healthy Meals; Family Meals; Ethnic Meals; Dessert; and Side-Dishes/Mini Meals/Snacks. In order to qualify, the recipes used at least three eligible sponsor ingredients and took 20 minutes or less to prepare."

Salon reports that there is a "rampant banana disease" called Fusarium wilt TR, or Panama disease, that the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) warns could threaten the world's banana supply.

The story says that "the fungal disease recently spread from Asia, where it’s already caused significant losses, to Africa and the Middle East, and the FAO believes Latin America could be next. That would ramp the crisis up considerably: About 70 percent of the world’s banana exports are grown in the region."
KC's View: