business news in context, analysis with attitude

•  From the New York Times this morning:

"Some of the largest consumer brands in the country have continued to raise prices aggressively this year while raking in large profits, posing a tough problem for the Federal Reserve as it aims to tame inflation.

"Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and Unilever have each reported raising prices significantly in the second quarter, from about 8 percent at Unilever to 15 percent at Pepsi. The price increases powered sales growth last quarter, keeping earnings strong even as the volume of products they sold either went down or remained flat versus the same period last year. The companies raised their full-year forecasts for various measures, pushing up their share prices.

"The Fed’s main tool to tackle inflation is raising interest rates, which reduces demand for goods and services. But food prices can be particularly sticky: Unlike other goods, food is something that consumers cannot stop buying, and food prices are particularly sensitive to external factors like supply shocks, ingredient prices and geopolitics. Escalating Russian attacks in Ukraine and the recent breakdown of a deal to export grain from Black Sea ports have put pressure on prices for key commodities like corn and wheat."

•  From WKRN:

"A Kroger in Middle Tennessee is ditching the tradition of cashiers and baggers and converting to an all self-checkout experience. 

"The big change was made at the Kroger in Franklin in the Cool Springs area on Friday, July 21.  A spokesperson for Kroger told News 2 the Cool Springs location was selected because of the rate of customers who were already using self-checkout.

Kroger said that "staff will still be available in the store for customers who don’t want to or unable to scan their own items."

Ther story says that Kroger "plans to make another Middle Tennessee Kroger a 100% self-checkout store. The grocery store chain told News 2 that the experience could be coming to a Hillsboro Village location later this year.

"The self-checkout experience is not going to happen at all locations, according to Kroger. The grocery store chain said some job titles were changed, but no jobs were eliminated to make these updates."

•  From The Spoon:

"Late last month, grocery giant Kroger began to trial the use of a cake-printing robot made by Beehex in the Gahanna, Ohio, location … The new Cake Writer machine, which will allow consumers to input a custom message and watch as the cake is decorated in minutes on the spot, is made by 3D food printing startup Beehex. Depending on the message, the decoration process will take two to fourteen minutes. The machines will be loaded with hundreds of different pre-made designs and fonts for the customer to choose from."

•  From the Wall Street Journal:

"Anheuser-Busch InBev laid off hundreds of workers at its U.S. offices after months of slumping sales at Bud Light.

"The world’s largest brewer, which also sells Stella Artois and Budweiser, on Wednesday said the cuts would affect less than 2% of its roughly 18,000 U.S. workforce. The layoffs won’t impact front-line workers such as brewery and warehouse staff, the company said … The restructuring eliminated corporate and marketing roles at major U.S. offices, including St. Louis, New York and Los Angeles. 

"Bud Light sales have tanked since April amid a commercial backlash over a promotion with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney. Earlier this summer, Mexican brand Modelo Especial dethroned Bud Light as the top-selling beer in the U.S. "