Posted by Dale Buss on February 5, 2013 04:55 PM
Kraft is moving to prevent Cracker Barrel restaurants from extending its store brand into American supermarkets, where Kraft's Cracker Barrel cheese brand has been a major player since 1954.
There was seemingly no big threat to Kraft or to its Cracker Barrel cheese trademark when Lebanon, Tenn.-based Cracker Barrel Old Country Store sold merely a few grocery items under the Cracker Barrel name at small general stores attached to most of its 600-some U.S. restaurants.
But now that Cracker Barrel has struck a major licensing agreement with the John Morrell Food Group to sell Cracker Barrel-branded food products through grocers and mass merchandisers, Kraft says it is concerned that the restaurant chain's brand expansion could create confusion among consumers — and thereby damage the Kraft line.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on September 19, 2012 03:20 PM
Tesco CEO Philip Clarke told the World Retail Congress in London today that the "tectonic plates are shifting" in retail and residual from financial woes in the euro zone is requiring companies to adopt new technologies or lose their competitive edge.
"We are in the first downturn of the digital age," Clarke stated, adding "consumption is weakening" in China, Thailand and South Korea, regions previously earmarked for growth but reeling from economic turmoil in Europe. "[These economies] are vulnerable to the crisis in the euro zone, as well as inflation caused by high commodity prices.
"Digital technology gives us the opportunity for a warmer, more meaningful conversation with our customers, local communities, our colleagues and the suppliers we work with.” That's why Clarke, who started as Tesco CEO in March 2011, has just launched a corporate blog, Talking Shop, in an effort to build trust and, as he puts it, "explain what we are thinking and how we see the world."
He's not much of a tweeter, though he likes writing bylined op-ed pieces (such as this week's FT column). So why blog?Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on July 3, 2012 02:07 PM
UK supermarket giant Tesco is trying to stake a claim in the U.S. market with its Fresh & Easy grocery chain on the west coast, but it hasn’t done well, even after a “major revamp.” Now the company may just give up on making it in America, according to the Telegraph.
“If we see there is no chance of success, we’ll do as we’ve just done in Japan” and pull out, Tesco CEO Philip Clarke told shareholders, the Telegraph reports. “It is not about ego. We are businessmen.”
It's been a money-losing brand extension for some time. Fresh & Easy had losses last year of £153m ($239 million) and lost £186m ($291.5 million) the year before that.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on June 28, 2012 05:22 PM
Walmart's critics have beaten up on the company for a lot of things over the years — its environmental policies, the treatment of its female employees, corporate donations to conservative political groups. But now Walmart, apparently, has gone too far by advertising that it sells good steaks.
The chain was critiqued recently by a Phoenix-based blogger, for example, for "mak[ing] it appear" that diners of an upscale local restaurant, El Chorro, "were saying things about Walmart steaks like, 'It was one of the best filets I've ever had.'"
Such grilling aside, from Walmart's point of view, the marketing campaign to spread the work for its upgraded USDA Choice steaks has worked well. "It's been pretty amazing," Walmart CMO Stephen Quinn told Ad Age. "This one has really had a big impact so far."Continue reading...
Posted by Barry Silverstein on June 14, 2012 03:57 PM
K-Cups are everywhere in the news now that Starbucks is rolling them out from coast to coast. Yet in the grocery aisle, those little "K-Cups" designed for single serving Keurig brewing machines are highlighting the battle between store brands (private labels) with name brand consumer packaged goods for shelf space.
Both Kroger and Safeway, two major U.S. grocery chains, are launching private label "coffee pods" for the Keurig machine. Safeway announced it will bring to market five types of Keurig-compatible filtered coffee pods. The chain already makes three store brand instant products for the machine.
The move by Safeway and Kroger caused shares of Green Mountain, the company that sells K-Cups along with Keurig brewing machines, to plummet. Since September, in fact, its stock has dropped 82 percent, according to Reuters. Two of the patents that cover the K-Cup design will expire in September 2012, which means other companies, not just Green Mountain, could manufacture Keurig-compatible cups.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on May 1, 2012 12:07 PM
Walmart executives must be experiencing deja vu.
Wasn't it just 20 years ago that they were reviled around the United States as plunderers of small retailers that didn't have a chance once a Walmart targeted a particular American town? The almost 50-year-old retail giant spent most of the last decade dutifully improving its reputation with various pools of critics on those grounds and others. But now, the Mexico-bribery scandal unveiled by the New York Times has brought back those awful allusions to ruthless corporate raiders — only, this time, the ignominy has been elevated to a global scale.
Walmart shoppers in America and the world around aren't likely to care too much about the company's bribes in Mexico; future sales trends are much more likely to be dictated by Walmart's pricing, merchandising and marketing practices and, of course, whether the U.S. economy ever pulls out of its slow-growth mode. But the house that Sam Walton built, which turns 50 in July, does need to be concerned about the future of its U.S. urban expansion plans for its smaller (than a SuperCenter) "Neighborhood Market" stores in the wake of the Mexico scandal.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on April 5, 2012 02:02 PM
Saint Francis is the patron saint of ecology so it makes sense that San Francisco was one of the pioneers to celebrate this annual environmental event. Once a day that the conventional culture thought of as a time for hippies to hug the trees, it has transformed as the culture has continued to turn its collective attention to the damage humans have done to the earth and what can be done to repair it. Earth Day has become so much a part of the landscape that it now ends up being used as a kickoff point for environmental efforts by organizations and businesses of all sizes.
This year, Whole Foods has announced that it will mark Earth Day by beginning its effort to refrain from selling “wild-caught seafood plucked from depleted waters or captured through unsustainable methods.” The Blue Ocean Institute and Monterey Bay Aquarium label seafood “red-rated” if it comes from overfished waters or if the fishermen use methods that harm other sea life. Anything in that category, such as Atlantic halibut, gray sole, and skate, will not be available at Whole Foods after Earth Day.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 26, 2012 05:12 PM
Frank Zappa once told his fans not to eat the yellow snow. Now a whole lot of folks are deciding not to eat another colorful item: pink slime.
It's a substance that many Americans (well, the few who watched) Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution last April would have seen in the series' premiere episode on ABC. That's when the British chef, accompanied by a bovine companion, demonstrated what goes into the 70% of America's ground beef that contains leftover cow parts (a.k.a. "pink slime"), meaning meat that has been treated with ammonia to banish bacteria such as e.coli and salmonella. It's also used to convert the fatty beef offcuts into a beef filler for burgers.
Ammonia-treated meat can be found in virtually all U.S. grocery stores, fast food restaurants, many national restaurant chains, and school cafeterias, but a backlash has been forming over fears that it is unsafe — and now the company that produces 'pink slime beef' has suspended operations at three of its four plants.Continue reading...