retail news in context, analysis with attitude

• In Minnesota, the Star Tribune reports that Target "cleared a major hurdle" in ridding itself of the detritus of its ill-fated Canadian expansion strategy "by reaching a settlement Friday with the landlords of the 133 stores in Canada it shuttered last year." Under the new plan - which amends a proposal made last year that a Canadian judge had ruled as inadequate - landlords there will get between two-thirds and three-quarters of their claims.


USA Today has a piece about "ugly produce," writing that "while European supermarkets have adopted the ugly foods movement by selling produce with superficial blemishes, most major American chains have refused to embrace the runner-ups in the fruit and veg beauty pageants – until now."

The story notes that "Whole Foods Market says it will sell the 'ugly' produce that would otherwise go to waste at a handful of its Northern California stores beginning in late April. The pilot project, in collaboration with Imperfect Produce, an Emeryville, Calif.-based startup, marks one of the first forays by a national grocery chain into the movement to cut food waste ... Imperfect Produce, which opened in 2015, delivers cosmetically imperfect fruits and vegetables to the homes of about 2,200 Bay Area customers at prices generally lower than grocery stores. For Whole Foods, the company will likely bundle the fruits and vegetable is mesh net bags with Imperfect's branding to differentiate it from Whole Foods' products."

And the story notes that another supermarket that has taken this approach is "One supermarket has made a go of it. The non-profit Daily Table opened in June in Dorchester, Mass., using recovered food from manufacturers and distributors to sell discounted prepared meals and groceries in low-income communities." The company says that the response so far has been “overwhelmingly positive."


• The New York Times reports that Mondelez International "is introducing its first new product line in years. The new line of thin, savory crackers, called Good Thins, plays to consumers’ growing interest in unconventional snack ingredients. One variety of the crackers, for instance, is made from sweet potatoes (albeit in powdered form), while another is based on chickpeas."

The story says that the line was developed after "consumers told Mondelez they did not want things like artificial colors and flavors, cholesterol or high-fructose corn syrup in their snacks. But they wanted good taste and texture, characteristics that often rely on those unwanted ingredients."
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