October 14, 2011

 IGA Red Oval Family Perspective

Connecting With Consumers during the Holidays

A message to IGA Retailers from...
Chris Parker
National Retail Sales
Anheuser-Busch, Inc.

It's no secret that seasonality plays a major role in beer sales. The key selling period for the beer category is from May through August, with almost 39 percent of annualized sales occurring during those warmer months. That said, close on the heels of summer are the fall and winter months, with 32 percent of category sales occurring from September through December.

So what do you need to know to make sure you're taking advantage of the holiday selling period this year? Below are some tips that can help.

Leverage Every Segment

Every segment (Premium, Import, Economy, etc.) has a contributing role to play within the beer category. Effectively leveraging each segment and the dollars assigned is key. A continued fair share approach to ad, program, and display choices is critical to achieve category growth during the pivotal holiday period.

That said, it's important to keep in mind that the category wins as the Premium segment wins. Featuring the Premium segment commensurate with dollar contribution will help you ring in the best sales. And remember, the majority of beer shoppers purchase beer on a weekly basis, meaning they visit your stores often. Keep things fresh by focusing your displays on different featured brands and package size choices each week.


Cross-merchandising is a great way to encourage holiday buying, and probably the most successful avenue of cross-merchandising is pairing beer with food. This can be done through special promotions or by developing beer displays that inspire an immediate connection with other food products. Focus your food choices on holiday entertaining staples and you'll be sure to get your share of impulse sales.

As your Red Oval partner for the beer category, we at Anheuser-Busch have the insights to achieve success. Contact your local distributor to plan upcoming ads, programs, and special events that will make your holiday season memorable.

Thank you,

Chris Parker


Retail News

Food retailers rang up 5.7% more sales this September than last, according to just-released Census Bureau data. With retail food prices up about 6%, however, they continue to lose ground, reported The Food Institute. Foodservice sales during the month jumped 8.4%. Full Story (FI Membership Required)

Target Corp. committed to selling only sustainable and traceable seafood in its stores by 2015. The initiative will be achieved through a partnership with FishWise and continued engagement with industry and vendor partners, and will apply to all of Target's fresh and frozen seafood products. Over the next few years, Target plans to continue transitioning Market Pantry and Archer Farms brands to more sustainable seafood products. Full Story New! Sustainable seafood is a priority for numerous retailers and restaurants. This topic is explored in depth in the newly released Food Institute flagship publication Food Industry Review 2011. The completely updated, 400+ page book covers the entire food industry. Food Industry Review 2011 may be purchased by clicking here or contacting Sue Antista at 201-791-5570, ext. 212.

Walmart reportedly plans to shut down all of its four Marketside stores on Oct. 21, according to a Mouth by Southwest report. All of the locations are in Arizona. Full Story

Meijer Inc. plans to phase bulk-food bins out of its stores when it opens its fourth manufacturing plant in April in Grandville, MI, reported MLive.com. The move, being tested at a store in Walker, MI, should improve food safety, reduce an estimated 10% loss on bulk-food items and increase candy selection, according to Meijer's director of manufacturing. Full Story (Free Registration Required)

iFranchise Group identified four ways in which retailers are adapting to the new economy, based on observations of over 11,000 businesses since January 2009. Retailers are using franchising for specialty product distribution, pursuing flexibility in real estate, multimedia online training and "green" retailers are turning to franchising. Full Story

Amazon.com formed a strategic relationship with LivingSocial for deals and launched its local deals marketplace site in Houston and Sugar Land, TX, reported Houston Business Journal. Full Story (Free Registration Required)

McCaffrey's Markets and BrightFarms entered into an agreement to build a greenhouse farm at one of McCaffrey's grocery stores in New Jersey or Pennsylvania. BrightFarms will finance, build and operate the greenhouse, which will grow Ultra Local produce for McCaffreys. McCaffreys will purchase the produce from the greenhouse, items such as lettuces, tomatoes and herbs, as per a long term produce purchase agreement. Full Story

Casey's General Stores purchased two convenience stores in Minnesota, reported Post-Bulletin. Full Story

The Western Union Company and 7-Eleven, Inc. signed a prepaid agreement to offer the Western Union MoneyWise General Purpose Reloadable prepaid card at 7-Eleven, Inc.'s store locations. The card will be available at select 7-Eleven U.S. retail locations early next year. Full Story

Sears Holdings will begin a staged rollout of Apple iPads and Apple iPod Touch devices starting with nearly 450 stores nationwide to allow associates to help customers check available inventory, order products online, access product information and videos and utilize enhanced purchasing tools. The company will also offer free Wi-Fi access for customers at stores. Full Story

Manufacturer News

PepsiCo Inc. is reportedly close to entering a joint venture with German dairy company Theo Muller Group in an effort to break into the fast growing yogurt business. PepsiCo and Muller plan to launch a new yogurt brand in the U.S., and details of the venture are expected to be unveiled in coming weeks, reported Reuters. Full Story

PepsiCo's CEO claimed that the company's value is maximized as one unit on a conference call with analysts. "PepsiCo is an integrated company with two highly focused and complementary businesses: snacks and beverages, with a nutrition business nested within these two segments," the executive stated. Splitting the company would not outweigh the resulting increased operating costs, claimed the company's CFO, reported Advertising Age. Full Story (Free Registration Required)

Foodmakers are rolling out micro-desserts at a record clip, with some 228 mini cakes and pastries hitting shelves over the past five years, according to Datamonitor, reported USA Today. For instance, Baskin-Robbins is launching a Cake Bites line of four-bite desserts that mix ice cream with cake. Full Story

Gorton's plans to build a new processing line at its headquarters in Gloucester, MA. The company will also pursue state tax credits to build the new production line, which is expected to cost around $10 million, reported Gloucester Times. Full Story

New Product News: Pamela's Products is launching a line of gluten-free, whole-grain snack bars in four flavors. Full Story ... Sadler's Smokehouse, Ltd. introduced Tailgate Ready Beef Brisket with Sadler's Smoky Sweet BBQ Sauce. Full Story ... Creta Farms launched sausage with 24% fewer calories and up to 53% less saturated fat in three varieties. Full Story ... NatureSweet Ltd. introduced new cherry tomato packaging. Full Story ... PakSense, Inc. launched the XpressPDF temperature monitoring label. Full Story ... 3M introduced Scotch-Brite Botanical Disinfecting Wipes. Full Story

Malt-O-Meal Co. gained about 4% of the share for instant oatmeal with its BetterOats brand after launching a year ago. The company introduced 28 flavors of BetterOats to compete directly with Quaker Oats Co. The product comes in a box that is half the size of Quaker Instant Oatmeal, reported Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal. Full Story (Paid Subscription Required)

The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf will offer a variety of coffee plus bulk whole beans at 68 Quality Food Centers throughout Washington. Full Story

Unilever PLC agreed to acquire OAO Concern Kalina in a deal valuing the Russian cosmetics company at $832.1 million, including debt. Unilever confirmed that it will buy 82% of Concern Kalina for 4,098 rubles a share now and the rest later, reported The Wall Street Journal. Full Story (WSJ Subscription Required)

Foodservice News

Applebee's Neighborhood Grill & Bar franchisee Neighborhood Restaurant Partners, LLC purchased the assets of Apple Restaurants, Inc., including 40 Applebee's franchise-operated restaurants located in Atlanta and surrounding areas. Full Story Meanwhile, DineEquity, Inc. entered into an asset purchase agreement with Apple Investors Group, LLC for the sale of 17 Applebee's company-operated restaurants located in Tennessee, Illinois, Mississippi, Missouri, Kentucky and Arkansas. The company anticipates closing the transaction in the first quarter of 2012. Full Story

U.S.-based restaurant chains are attempting to evolve into truly global brands, reaching emerging markets where less industry saturation and competition exists. As chains seek to establish footholds in these untapped markets, they are challenged to strike a balance between maintaining their brand identities while tailoring menu items and service formats to local preferences, according to Technomic. Full Story In related news, restaurant chains including Domino's, AFC Enterprises Inc. and Dunkin' Brands Group Inc. are hunting for executives who can adapt menus to international tastes and navigate foreign regulations. Such changes may accelerate as chains expand overseas amid slowing U.S. growth, according to an executive who leads restaurant-executive searches for Heidrick & Struggles International Inc. Demand for talented executives is so high that Domino's had to go outside the restaurant industry for its newest international executive, reported Bloomberg.com. Full Story

MSNBC.com examined 10 restaurant chains with the greatest sales declines from 2001 to 2010, and in every case sales fell 60% or more. Many restaurants are casual, family dining establishments, and offer American Style cuisine such as steak and burgers in a bar or grill setting. The businesses include Bennigan's Grill & Tavern and Damon's Grill & Sports Bar. Full Story

Washington News

The pensions of nearly 6,000 Friendly's workers and retirees are at risk under a plan for the restaurant chain's owner to retain control of the company through bankruptcy proceedings, according to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. The government agency accused Friendly Ice Cream Corp. of looking to unload its employee pension plan through a proposed deal to sell its assets to private-equity firm Sun Capital Partners, which took the restaurant chain private in 2007, reported The Wall Street Journal. Full Story (WSJ Subscription Required)

Phil's Fresh Foods, Inc. initiated a voluntary recall of approximately 15,760-lbs. of frozen chicken and steak fajita products due to misbranding, as the chicken fajita packages may contain steak, and the steak fajita packages may contain chicken. Full Story

Osamu Corporation initiated a voluntary recall of up to 1,800 cases of frozen ground tuna because FDA found decomposition in several samples of the product and also found elevated histamine levels in samples. Full Story

Giant Eagle was informed by representatives of FDA of the presence of listeria monocytogenes in a routine random sample test of Giant Eagle Farmer's Market 8-oz. package of Shredded Iceberg Lettuce, produced by River Ranch Fresh Foods LLC. Full Story

Nearly 150 farm-to-consumer marketing projects received funding under USDA's Farmers Market Promotion Program, marking a $9.2 million investment to support direct marketing and to increase consumer access to healthy food. Full Story

Global News

China purchased 900,000 metric tons of American corn, reportedly one of its largest purchases of the commodity on overseas markets, according to USDA. Animals account for about 70% of corn consumption in China with the rest used to produce alcohol, corn starch and other products, reported The Associated Press. The country was a net exporter of corn until 2009 but is now struggling to keep up with growing demand. Full Story, FAS Release

Market News

Blue Diamond almond growers will gain needed market share as a result of the newly passed Free Trade Agreements. Within five years of the removal of the 21% shelled duty, 45% inshell duty and the 5% duty on processed almonds, sales to South Korea could increase 40% to $100 million. At the level of 70% duty on almonds in Columbia, within five years of its removal, sales to Columbia could be $2.5 million. Although the duty in Panama is 2% on shelled and inshell almonds and 15% on processed almonds, the same level of sales predicted for Columbia could also be achieved. Almonds are California's largest food export valued at $2 billion and the sixth largest food export in the U.S. Full Story

Coffee futures rose the most since August on signs of increased demand, including from Brazil. Inventories at European ports fell by 0.1% to 13.64 million bags as of Aug. 31, according to the European Coffee Federation, reported Bloomberg Businessweek. Full Story

Volatile commodity prices are spurring Archer Daniels Midland Co. to diversify its sources of food and processing, according to its CEO, who spoke at the World Food Prize conference, reported Bloomberg.com. Full Story

Production of Argentinean peaches for processing is expected to rise by over 15% to 200,000 metric tons (MT) in 2012, of which 115,000 MT will be devoted for canned peaches, noted FAS. As a result of larger production, both exports and domestic consumption are forecast to increase as well. Imports are estimated to drop to zero due to the greater production, a rise in import taxes and continued import restrictions. Full Report

Fresno County's 2010 agricultural commodity production values rose 11.17% from 2009 values and the average price per acre for farmland sold in 2010 was $10,550, according to the Fresno County Agricultural Commissioner. The 2011 year-to-date average is $11,553 per acre, a 9.51% increase over the previous year, according to the Fresno County 2010 Annual Crop and Livestock Report. Full Report

River Ranch Fresh Foods redesigned its packaging and logo. The new River Ranch logo merges a farm scene with the existing corporate logo and will appear on the company's vegetable commodities as well as packaged salads and vegetables, reported The Packer Online. Full Story

Tennessee Department of Agriculture revealed Producer Diversification cost share awards totaling nearly $900,000. The funds will help 173 Tennessee farmers invest in new or expanding areas of agriculture. Full Story

FSIS, APHIS and the Agricultural Research Service are hosting a public meeting to seek input on pre-harvest pathogen control strategies designed to reduce the likelihood that beef will be contaminated with pathogens such as Shiga toxin- producing E. coli and Salmonella during the slaughter process. Full Notice

Korea's Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries launched the import protocol for fresh blueberries from Oregon, noted FAS. MIFAFF Notice 2011-158 provides an exemption for "Oregon fresh blueberries" from the import prohibited list. Full Report


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