AU: Woolies, Aldi under fire on supplier deals
The competition watchdog claims it was acting in the best interests of suppliers and the "new spirit" of the Food and Grocery Code of Conduct when it named and shamed Woolworths and Aldi over their latest supply agreements. The ACCC and Woolworths are embroiled in a war of words over the supermarket chain's new supply contracts, which the competition regulator claims could be interpreted as "take it-or-leave-it documents". But Woolworths hit back, saying the ACCC put out a press release only hours after contacting it with fresh concerns on Wednesday. ACCC chair Rod Sims said the code was developed to establish good-faith negotiations between retailers and suppliers and to ensure suppliers weren't subject to random requests for money. (

US: Publix, produce for kids aid feeding America
Publix Super Markets Inc. and Produce for Kids are teaming up for the second time this year on an in-store and digital campaign to educate area families on the advantages of healthy eating while raising funds for regional Feeding America member food banks. Last spring, the Southeastern regional grocer and the Orlando, Fla.-based philanthropically based organization supplied 1.2m meals through Feeding America for local needy families. Eleven fresh fruit and vegetable suppliers, encompassing every major category of fresh produce, are participating in the campaign: Avocados from Mexico Mexican Hass Avocados, Chiquita Fresh Chiquita Bananas, Coast Tropical Mangos, Crunch Pak Sliced Apples, Del Monte Foods Fruit Naturals Cups, Chiquita Fresh Express Packaged Salads, Shuman Produce RealSweet Vidalia Onions, J&D Produce Inc. Little Bear Brand Vidalia Sweet Onions, Tasti-Lee Tomatoes, Ventura Foods Marie's Dressings, and Wonderful Pistachios. (

Romania: Billa expanding range of local products

Billa is expanding its assortment of Romanian foods sold under its own brand "Best of Romania." By the end of this year, the company plans to introduce new products from basic food categories into the range. The suppliers for "Best of Romania" products are selected on the basis of criteria such as the assortment offered, compliance with the rules in force, and membership to local or national associations identifying them as Romanian/local producers. Billa launched the brand in 2014 in stores across the country. Originally the range included only vegetables (tomatoes, peppers, onions, etc.) and fruit from local areas with an agricultural tradition. This year the assortment was expanded with fresh meat, sausages and dairy products. Billa entered the Romanian market in 1999 and currently operates a network of 86 stores nationwide. Last year, the company recorded a turnover of €317m. (

US: Whole Foods hit with another lawsuit

This time, the animal-rights group PETA accuses Whole Foods of failing to adequately monitor its meat suppliers. Whole Foods has been taking some hits lately. The latest one comes from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, which has filed a lawsuit alleging that the chain’s claims about animal welfare amount to a “sham.” (

US: Safeway, workers reach tentative deal
Union workers in Central and Northern California have reached tentative agreements with Safeway on new contracts, United Food and Commercial Workers Local 8 said Wednesday. The four-year agreement with Safeway protects and enhances the wages, benefits and workplace standards enjoyed by approximately 9,000 workers at 130 Safeway stores, as well as retirees, the union said. (

UFU leaders to meet the UK supermarkets about agri-food

The coming week will see Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) leaders meeting with representatives of all the UK’s leading supermarkets to discuss the transparency, or lack of it, within the agri-food chain. “This initiative will involve representatives of all the main UK farming unions,” said UFU chief executive Wesley Aston. “It is a key priority for the union to ensure that farmers receive a fair price for the produce they are bringing to market. No doubt the retailers will be confirming their support for locally produced food, but we want to see them do more than this: they must act to ensure that farmers are receiving a fair return from the market place.” Aston highlighted the current practice of supermarkets to pay their suppliers the same price, irrespective of where they are located in the UK. Pressure is growing on the European Commission to introduce new legislation, which will allow Brussels to officially audit all EU food retailers on a regular basis. (

Amazon France launches grocery sites

The food site carries the majority of the products (30,000) across more than 25 categories. They include brands, local products and specialist ranges like gluten-free. The ranges could be extended, depending on customers' reactions. France is Amazon's third-largest European market. The French online grocery market is worth €6.6bn in 2015 and we predict this will grow to €12.5bn in 2020. Retailers continue to roll out the Drive format; home delivery is less popular than in other European markets but retailers - including Amazon - are using it in large cities to provide choice. (

UK: Isle spud firm doubles Lidl sales

Spuds from a St Nicholas based company have been a hit with Lidl customers – bucking the trend by doubling sales. The Kent Potato Company branded potatoes, Amber, are exclusive to the firm. They are grown in the county and packed at the firm's St Nicholas-at-Wade base (formerly St Nicholas Court Farms). (

Aldi launches music streaming service in Germany
Aldi has launched a cooperation with Napster to offer its own music streaming service on the German market. Under the name 'Aldi Life Musik', customers have unlimited access to an extensive music library from Napster for EUR 7.99 for 30 days. The Aldi offer is EUR 2 cheaper than Napster itself and the same price as O2 Germany's offer for Napster. (

Study says 'America’s Online Grocery' expected + 40% in 2016
America's online grocery shopping is projected to raise from US$15bn to US$ 21bn by the end of 2016. The "Groceries 2.0" study has reported 2013 Forrester Research which showed that America's online grocery shopping market is equal to US$15bn of a US$1 trillion market, Australia Food News reported. It was estimated that online shopping will increase to $21bn by the end of 2016 despite a slow uptake when compared to online sales in other retail industries. Furthermore, the report named US giant Walmart as a case in point for a skyward trend towards online grocery shopping in the United States. (

US: Kroger convenience stores test better-for-you options
Convenience stores in the Kroger family are now selling some of the company’s store-branded food items under the Simple Truth banner, Oil Price Information Service (OPIS) reports. Launched in 2012, Simple Truth products are free from 101 artificial preservatives and ingredients that customers have requested not be in their foods. (

AU: 7-Eleven workers paid franchisee owners up to $70k for visa
Franchise owners of 7-Eleven chain stores charged workers up to $70,000 to help them secure a working visa, a Senate inquiry has heard. A Senate Committee is holding a special public hearing in Melbourne today to examine the exploitation of workers at the chain store, as part of an inquiry into Australia's temporary work visa program. The convenience stores have come under scrutiny following an ABC Four Corners investigation which revealed the company was systematically paying its workers about half the minimum wage. (

China: Tiantu Capital leads $63M series a round in Pagoda
Shenzhen-based fresh fruit chain Pagoda has completed US$63m series A round of financing led by Tiantu Capital. GF Xinde Investment Management and other undisclosed investors also participated, according to an announcement posted on the company's Weibo account. Founded in 2002, Pagoda currently operates 1,100 chain stores in 19 cities in China with annual gross revenue US$313m. The company says it plans to open 1,600 additional stores in the next two years, as well as building three processing centers to support its retail store expansion. Pagoda is exploring a build-up of its e-commerce channels, and plan to have 30% of its sales transacted online in the future. (

Africa: Choppies' turnover grows 19% in 2014/15 FY
Botswana-based Choppies has announced its unaudited results for its 2014/15 financial year ending June 2015, saying that its turnover rose by 18.6% to US$561.9m driven by strong store growth. Choppies said that total turnover growth rose by 18.6%, with a rise in turnover seen in all its markets. In its home market Choppies said that turnover rose by 6.1% to US$359.5m, while in South Africa it increased by 27.3% to US$121.1m and in Zimbabwe it rose by 103.4% to US$81.7m. The strong growth in turnover was driven by the addition of new stores, with Choppies saying it added six new stores in Botswana, 11 in South Africa and seven in Zimbabwe. Despite its delay in opening new stores in Tanzania and Zambia, Choppies said that it remained committed to operating 200 stores across its existing and new markets by 2016. (

UK: Family spending power increases in August – Asda Income Tracker
According to the latest Asda Income Tracker for August, discretionary incomes – the income left after taxes and essentials like rent, utilities and bills have been deducted – increased £18 on the same period last year. The data showed that the average UK household had £191 a week of discretionary income in August, while the cost of food and drink was down 2.4% on the previous year. (

Kenya: Tuskys aiming for IPO in 2019
Kenya-based Tuskys, which appointed Dan Githua as CEO in May 2015 to prepare the company for a listing on the local stock exchange, has said that it is preparing for a listing in 2019. Githua said that the retailer had established a five year plan to transition from a family-owned company to a listed one, albeit with the family retaining a sizeable stake in the business. As part of the strategy Githua said that Tuskys would contemplate franchising the brand in future to enable it to compete against traditional retail channels, while adding private labels would also be added to drive profitable growth. (

SPAR to anchor shopping centre in Nigeria
The Artee Group, which operates the SPAR fascia in Nigeria, has announced that a SPAR hypermarket will be the anchor tenant of the Mountview Shopping Centre in Abuja. The pace of expansion for the SPAR brand in Nigeria has been slower than that first envisioned when the Artee Group signed up as a franchisee, but in 2014 its six stores generated sales of €64.0m, underlining its success in the country. (

Kenyan Uchumi sets out recovery plan
Kenya-based Uchumi, which has recently appointed a new CEO, Julius Kipng'etich, has announced a recovery plan for the retailer following months of difficulties, which ultimately led to the dismissal of senior managers. As part of the turnaround plan Kipng'etich has said that the retailer will rent its stores, rather than own them as it does at the moment, reorganise the management of underperforming branches and would take the difficult decision to either close or relocate some of the worst performing stores. In order to offset the impact of store closures, Kipng’etich announced plans to establish shops in slums, which would be built on trucks to make them mobile, which would be open before the end of 2015. (

30% of US consumers order online for same day delivery
In America, convenience is king, especially when ordering online. In the recent report American Consumers in 2020, market research publisher Packaged Facts, reveals that roughly 3 in 10 consumers have ordered items online for same-day delivery in the past 12 months, excluding foods ordered for immediate consumption such as delivery pizza. (

US: The Good Jobs certified Roundy's as Good Jobs Company

The Good Jobs, a turnkey employment branding solution, announced it has certified Roundy’s, Inc. as a Good Jobs Company awarding Culture Badges to Roundy’s Corporate as well as their grocer brands including Pick ‘n Save, Copps, Metro Market and Mariano’s. (

Interesting links to read. 

Walmart presses suppliers to share benefits of cheaper yuan

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Whole Foods could use the help of an activist investor to whip it into shape
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Brazil mid-September inflation slows less than analysts forecast

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