retail news in context, analysis with attitude

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

• A new poll conducted for the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) and Food Policy Action Network suggests that "nearly 60 percent of Americans have had a discussion within their household about the meaning of date labels on their food ... The poll findings clearly illustrate that the current range of variations of date labels such as “best by, use by, sell by, use or freeze by,” found on food products around the country is problematic for consumers."

The survey goes on: "The disparate terms cause confusion among Americans about what each of these different labels mean for product safety, and whether a food is still safe to eat. In fact, the survey found that 40 percent of adults say they have had disagreements within their household over whether a food product should be kept or thrown away."

The survey is seen as reinforcing the value of a voluntary initiative launched by the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) and GMA "to streamline and standardize the wording accompanying the date labels on packages to offer greater clarity regarding the quality and safety of products."


• The Boston Globe reports that the Organic Consumers Association has announced that it "found traces of glyphosate in 10 of 11 samples of the company’s ice creams — although at levels far below the ceiling set by the Environmental Protection Agency." Glyphosate, the story notes, is "the herbicide that is the main ingredient in the popular consumer pesticide Roundup ... Rob Michalak, global director of social mission at Ben & Jerry’s, said the company was working to ensure that all the ingredients in its supply chain come from sources that do not include genetically modified organisms, known as GMOs. None of its plant-based ingredients, for instance, come from a genetically engineered crop like corn or soy, where glyphosate is used in production."

The interesting thing about this, at least to me, is that I completely accept the rationale offered by Ben & Jerry's that they're caught by surprise by this and are doing their level best to meet the standards they've set for themselves. They've earned that kind of credibility. Unlike, say, Chipotle, which has no credibility in my view.


• McDonald's said yesterday that its Q2 US sales were up 3.9 percent, fueled by a new line of premium burgers and a $1 soda promotion. Global sales were up 6.6 percent to $6.05 billion. The Chicago Tribune notes that "the U.S. store count is continuing to shrink. The Oak Brook, Illinois-based company had 14,079 domestic locations at the end of the quarter, down about 100 stores from a year ago. Globally, it expanded and had more than 37,000 locations."

There is, apparently, life in the old burger chain yet...


• Smart & Final said yesterday that its Q2 net sales were up 3.9 percent to $1.078 billion, on same-store sales that were up for the period by 1.3 percent.
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