Spar Austria enters into new local supplier agreement -
A family business, Schneider's Gemüseland, in Groß-Enzersdorf, Lower Austria, is the new SPAR Own Brand Partner for frozen vegetables from the plains of Marchfeld. Vegetables from the Marchfeld region are now available as SPAR Premium Brand and will soon be offered nationwide under the organic SPAR Natur*pur Brand. (

Albertsons in advanced talks to buy Price Chopper
US supermarket chain Albertsons Companies Inc is in advanced talks to acquire closely held grocery store operator Price Chopper for around $1bn, people familiar with the matter said on Tuesday. A deal would underscore the wave of consolidation sweeping the US grocery industry, as regional chains struggle to compete against online retailers such as Amazon, big box stores, such as Wal-Mart, and discount chains such as Aldi. The sources, who asked not to be identified because the matter is confidential, cautioned that it is still possible for the negotiations to fall through. Albertsons and Price Chopper declined to comment. (Reuters)

'Machine learning to help grocers stock just enough fresh produce'
Machine learning can help supermarkets better manage the costly problem of having too much or too little fresh food in stock, argues a new report from McKinsey & Company. The technology could provide grocers a competitive advantage in the battle between independent supermarkets, incumbents, new international entrants and grocery delivery start-ups. The authors note that most traditional supply-chain planning systems take a fixed, rule-based approach to forecasting and replenishment. (

Stirfresh secure £300,000 supply deal with Lidl
Angus vegetable farmer Stirfresh has secured a new six-figure supply deal with Lidl for five new products in its the Oaklands Ready-to-Cook range. Montrose-base Stirfresh, run by husband and wife team Andrew and Anita Stirling, said the deal, which will see Lidl stock its Fresh Soup Mix and Fresh Vegetable Medley products across its 92 Scottish stores, is worth around £300,000. (

Sainsbury’s: Farming needs share of funding to up production
The UK’s farmers need to become more productive and the sector needs to get its fair share of government funding to help develop this, says Sainsbury’s. Speaking to a packed audience of producer-suppliers at the retailer’s farming conference, Judith Batchelar, Sainsbury’s brand director, said the agri-food sector faced unprecedented and growing challenges from population and environmental pressures. In addition, agricultural production in Europe had plateaued over the past 20 years and the UK was now more dependent on food imports. With Brexit looming, the sector needed to change even more quickly, she added to face these challenges and make use of opportunities. (

Study: Freshdirect clear leader among egrocers
While certain major players dominate online grocery retail and delivery, they aren't growing nearly as fast as their smaller competitors, according to a 101data report provided by Supermarket News. The report examined the performance of four major grocery e-tailers through the first 10 months of 2016. FreshDirect is the clear leader by total sales, with more than twice the market share of the study's next biggest company, Peapod. Both FreshDirect and Peapod reported sales growth of about 7% year over year for the study's timeframe. That growth rate is significantly lower than the sales growth posted by Instacart and Amazon Fresh during that timeframe, at 72% and 43% increase, respectively. ( / Supermarket News)

Which supermarket is cheapest for a Christmas dinner
While many like to moan that the cost of Christmas seems to go up every year, the truth may be exactly the opposite. According to an index that tracks seasonal food, the price of Christmas dinner is now at its lowest since it started in 2009. The Christmas dinner index - compiled by Good Housekeeping magazine - suggests that the 11 ingredients necessary are now 10.8% cheaper than they were in 2009. All fresh produce was cheapest at Aldi's with parsnips costing 58p (2 x 600g), carrots costing 29p (1kg), Brussels sprouts costing 58p (2 x 500g) and potatoes costing 29p (2kg) (BBC - The Guardian - The Housekeeping magazine)

Iceland to visit government in Iceland to keeps its name
Supermarket Iceland is sending a ‘high level delegation’ to Reykjavik this week in hopes of thawing relations with the Icelandic government after the country launched legal action against the chain over the use of its name. Iceland Foods says it is urgently seeking a meeting with Iceland's foreign ministry in order to lay out "constructive proposals" that could help solve the dispute and resume a "peaceful coexistence" that it says prevailed for nearly half a century. (

US: Central Grocers joins Topco
Wholesale cooperative Central Grocers has agreed to become a member-owner of Topco Associates, saying the move would provide new products and lower prices for Central’s retailers while lowering its cost of doing business, Central CEO Ken Nemeth told SN in an interview, Tuesday. Central Grocers, based in Joliet, Ill., supplies more than 500 independent retailers in greater Chicago and Indiana including Strack & Van Til, Tony’s Finer Foods, Ultra Foods and Sunset Foods. (

Mastercard must pay Sainsbury’s £68M

The U.K.’s Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) has denied Mastercard’s bid to appeal its July judgment awarding UK grocery chain Sainsbury’s Supermarkets damages of more than £68m in its suit over the credit card company’s interchange fees. Sainsbury’s won its claim against Mastercard in September, with the CAT ruling the payment processor must pay it £68.5m in damages. The ruling was the first major interchange fee decision in the competition court. (