Inside these posts: Groceries

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Kraft to bring Gevalia coffee to grocery stores

Just weeks after losing its contract to distribute Starbucks coffee in grocery stores, Northfield-based Kraft Foods announced that it is prepping a successor, Gevalia. Get the full story »

Store-brand food seen eating up market share

Safeway Select cookies at a Dominick's. (Terry Harris/Tribune)

Grocery retailers’ store-brand products are expected to double their share of the global packaged food market over the next 15 years to make up half the market, according to a report issued on Thursday.

The report by Sebastiaan Schreijen, associate director of processed food and retail at Rabobank, said growth of private-label brands will be fueled by retail consolidation in developed markets, adoption of modern retail in developing markets, and increased consumer acceptance of private-label brands following the recession, among other factors.

Senate mulls food safety bill for farmers markets

A bill that would allow people to sell home-baked goods at farmers markets is slowly making its way through the state Senate.

Senate Bill 137 would make it legal for people to sell their home-baked “non-potentially hazardous food,” such as bread and cookies, at farmers markets and community events. Get the full story »

Amazon expanding home delivery Inc. may be expanding a free home-delivery program, a move that analysts say would encourage consumers to do more of their shopping for groceries and other goods with the online retailer.

The service, AmazonTote, is currently available only around Seattle, where the company is based. The program offers customers a free weekly delivery on a specified day and doesn’t require a minimum-order size. Get the full story »

Jewel asks employees to take time off without pay

A Jewel-Osco at 370 N. Desplaines in Chicago. (Antonio Perez/Chicago Tribune)

Jewel-Osco is offering all corporate employees unpaid time off between now and Feb. 26, representatives for the store’s parent, SuperValu, said. The offer extends to all SuperValu chains, including Save-a-Lot, Acme, Cub and Albertson’s.

The money-saving program is voluntary, SuperValu added, a point that was also made by the union that represents Jewel-Osco employees, Local 881. Union employees cannot be forced to take unpaid time off. The program is directed at office employees, not grocery-store workers.

On Wednesday SuperValu announced that it was closing about 20 underperforming stores in New England, Philadelphia and the West Coast. Stores in the Chicago area will be unaffected, a SuperValu spokesman said. Get the full story »

Kroger fuels supermarket sector price war jitters

Kroger Co. cut some prices in its latest quarter, fueling worries that the slow U.S. economic recovery will cause another flare-up in the supermarket industry’s intense and profit-denting price war. Get the full story »

Battle brewing after Starbucks burns Kraft

(Charles Osgood/Chicago Tribune)

Kraft is apparently steamed by Starbucks’ announcement that it plans to fire the company as its grocery store distributor.

On Thursday night, Kraft Foods Inc. said its agreement to supply packaged Starbucks coffee to grocery stores “is perpetual…if Starbucks decides to exit its relationship with Kraft Foods, the agreement requires Starbucks to pay Kraft Foods the fair market value of the business plus, in certain instances, a premium.”

Starbucks fired back today with a company statement saying, “We consider it unfortunate that Kraft has chosen to make public statements that we believe mischaracterize the nature of the agreement between our companies, including the term of the agreement.” The statement went on to note that the companies’ agreement contains a clause for the resolution of disputes. Both companies maintain that regardless of how their relationship is terminated, customers shouldn’t expect service interruptions.

Get the full story »

Shares of Whole Foods rise on good 4Q results

A Whole Foods in Santa Rosa, Ca. (John Burgess/Tribune)

Whole Foods Market Inc. more than doubled its fourth-quarter net income as sales rose, prompting the grocer to raise its full-year outlook on Wednesday.

The news sent natural and organic grocer’s shares soaring in after-hours trading.

Whole Foods, based in Austin, Texas, reported that its net income available to common shareholders rose to $57.5 million, or 33 cents per share, for the quarter that ended Sept. 26. That’s up from $28.7 million, or 20 cents per share, in the same period last year.

Beef prices expected to stay up as supply shrinks

Americans love their beef, but with prices expected to remain high for the next few years and other options plentiful, their loyalities might be challenged.

Average retail prices of beef have climbed from $4.18 per pound in July 2009 to $4.44 per pound last July, a change largely due to a tight supply of cattle. Ranchers and feedlots have reduced supplies in response in large part due to rising prices of corn and soybeans fed to cattle, economists said. Get the full story »

Family Dollar outlook tops view, plans more stores

Family Dollar Stores Inc. forecast profit for the current fiscal year that would beat most analyst estimates and said it will speed up the pace of new store openings, sending its shares up 2.5 percent. The retailer, which prices most of its goods under $10, has attracted consumers struggling in a weak economy. It expects to reap the sales benefit of longer store hours, introduced earlier this year, and an overhaul to give more room to fast-moving items like food. Get the full story »

Dominick’s to introduce online coupon program

Dominick’s is rolling out an online coupon program today that sorts, organizes and personalizes offers for its loyalty-card members.

The program, called “Just For U,” is designed to create a centralized location for customers to store coupons. Members will receive personalized offers based on purchase history, gleaned use of Dominick’s Fresh Values Card. Get the full story »

Smartphone app placing Peapod orders

Web-based grocer Peapod has launched a free application for smartphones that allows consumers to place orders from their mobile device. Get the full story »

Whole Foods to rate impact of seafood

Whole Foods Market Inc. is trying to clear some murky waters for seafood shoppers.

The grocery chain on Monday launched a new color-coded rating program — with the help of Monterey Bay Aquarium and Blue Ocean Institute — that measures the environmental impact of its wild-caught seafood. Get the full story »

Report: 7-Eleven bids $2B for Casey’s General

Convenience store operator 7-Eleven Inc. is the mystery bidder for Casey’s General Stores Inc. trying to top a Canadian rival, according to a published report. Get the full story »

Meijer introduces digital coupon program

Meijer Inc. said Monday it is launching a new digital coupon program where shoppers can choose coupons from the store’s Web site and redeem them by entering their mobile phone numbers at check-out.

The mPerks program rolls out this week at the superstore chain’s 196 stores in Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky. Customers can sign up for an account linked to their personal cell phone number at Shoppers select coupons from the site to be stored in their account. At check-out, keying in the phone number redeems all applicable coupons. Get the full story »