retail news in context, analysis with attitude

...with brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary…

Bloomberg reports that Starbucks' Frappuccinos could be affected by a new San Francisco law that would require billboard labels that warn about the dangers of sugary drinks. According to the story, Starbucks could have to change signs and advertising if it is found that the beverage falls within the purview of the regulations ... and that could happen, since "a standard 12-ounce Frappuccino, generally made with coffee, ice, milk and sugary flavored syrup, has more calories than a 140-calorie can of Coca-Cola."

The law, if finalized, would require the following statement on billboards: “WARNING: Drinking beverages with added sugar(s) contributes to obesity, diabetes and tooth decay.”

I wouldn't drink these things on a bet, and I'm perfectly satisfied with the notion that any law that applies to sugary soft drinks ought to apply to Frappuccinos.


• The Food Marketing Institute (FMI) named the best supermarket chef in the country today, along with five category winners who participated in Supermarket Chef Showdown at thew FMI Connect show in Chicago.

Elizabeth Davis, Hy-Vee, Inc. was named the Grand Champion of the competition for her Yu Sheng Citrus Salad Platter for Chinese New Year.

The five category winners were Amy Gleason, of Hy-Vee, for her Cinnamon-Scented Farro Breakfast Parfait (breakfast on the go); Elizabeth Davis, of Hy-Vee, for her Yu Sheng Citrus Salad Platter for Chinese New Year (holiday platters); Dustin Miller, Giant Eagle Market District, for his Korean-Braised Short Ribs (ethnic dishes); Jason Miller, of Balducci’s Food Markets, for his Turkey Meatloaf “Provencal” with Sweet Potato Hash and Arugula Salad (family meals on a budget); and Bryan Williams of Hy-Vee, for his Red Curry and Coconut Bread Pudding (dessert).

Now in its third year, this competition attracted a record 300 recipes from supermarket chefs across the country.

The lesson here seems clear. Hy-Vee is definitely doing something right.


• The National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) is out with its regular survey of consumer attitudes, concluding that "a majority of consumers expect gas prices will continue to rise during June, a period in which gas prices tend to moderate or even fall after the completion of the annual spring transition to summer-blend fuel. Nearly three in five consumers (59%) expect gas prices will go up over the next 30 days, versus just 9% who expect them to fall."

While gas prices have risen over the past month by an average of 16 cents, the survey says that "consumer optimism about the overall economy is growing. A slight majority (52%) of consumers say they feel 'very' or 'somewhat optimistic' about the economy, up four percentage points from the 48% who said so in May. Consumers ages 18-34 are feeling particularly hopeful, with nearly three in five (57%) saying they feel optimistic about the economy, including 20% who say they are 'very optimistic'."

Ignorance is bliss. Ah, to be young and ignorant. Again.


• Interesting note from the Washington Post about how, even as consumers said they were trying to eat healthier and some fast food chains were seeing a resultant decrease in sales and profits, "doughnut sales from quick service restaurants, like Krispy Kreme and Dunkin' Donuts, are up for the third straight year, after several years in decline, according to data from NDP CREST, a New York-based market research firm."
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