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Food Titans – Prepare for Battle

Touch the Soil News #725 We have all been taught that competition is good thing. Today it is not just about a better product or a better way to do things – it is often all and only about the money – regardless of the economic consequences to the nation and its working people. The ongoing consolidations in the grocery business, for example, have created huge Titans that are preparing for an economic battle. It is no longer about the big swallowing the small. It is about the big battling the big. When big battles big, the fallout can be more dramatic and happen more quickly. For example, it took…

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Duking it Out Update

Touch the Soil News #712 LIDL grocery store company is coming to America and opening its first nine (9) stores on June 15, 2017. We did an earlier news piece (#703 – Duking it Out) where we touched on the LIDL’s entry to the U.S. They plan to open some 300 stores in the next couple of years. The first nine (9) stores will be located in: North Carolina in the cities of Kinston, Greenville, Sanford, Rocky Mount and Winston-Salem. South Carolina in the cities of Spartanburg and Greenville. Virginia in the cities of Virginia Beach and Hampton.   LIDL, headquartered in Germany, has over 10,000 stores in 27 countries…

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Duking it Out

Touch the Soil News #703 Grocery stores are the realm of big capital. Unlike the small neighborhood grocers of 50 years ago, billions of dollars of investments have muscled into the backrooms of every grocery chain. Big investors have always warred against each other, but more aggressive incarnations are erupting in the grocery industry. As we speak, Canadian grocery stores continue to take a walloping from U.S. grocery giants that moved in. A recent story by the Canadian Press revealed that between 2004 and 2015, Canadian grocers lost over 11 percent of their market share to the likes of Costco and Wal-Mart. In the United States, American grocery stores are…

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Is Competition Really That Wasteful?

Touch the Soil News #525 In this era of less-than-abundant natural resources, it is not unusual to see vacant lots and perfectly good buildings sitting idle and just going to waste. Unfortunately with the emergence of idle facilities also comes the demise of jobs and companies that were occupying those facilities. As we have always said, the food chain is one of the more interesting places to gain economic insights about our lives and economics. Rather accidental, a handful of statistics about the restaurant sector has come into our hands that weigh in on the vacant buildings in cities. In recent months, 10 companies overseeing 17 restaurant chains have filed…

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Village Farms – The Changing Face of Fresh Produce

Touch the Soil News #170 Village Farms is one of the world’s largest greenhouse fresh-produce operations with some 250 acres of greenhouses under food production – tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and eggplant. CEO Mike DeGiglio in a recent video explains that in the 1980’s only 1 percent of retail tomatoes came from greenhouses. Today roughly 80 percent of retail tomatoes come from greenhouses. Awsome is the reaction to these super-size greenhouses – (photo courtesy of village farms) Village farms boasts that its produce ripens on the vine longer, allowing natural sugars to develop and that they have the shortest times from hand-harvest to grocery store. Recently, Mike DeGiglio was interviewed in…

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The Once Mightiest of Grocery Stores is About to Slip into Oblivion

Touch the Soil News # 124 For almost 60 years – from 1915 to 1975 – A & P supermarket was the nation’s largest supermarket chain. In its heyday, the company had 16,000 stores. The store was founded in 1859 as the Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company. The name was later shortened to A & P. A & P cashiers line up for store opening Today the A & P supermarket has only 320 stores and Bloomberg Business reported that the store was up for auction, but there were no bids. A & P told Bloomberg that: “No decision has been mad regarding a particular outcome, and it would…

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