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Investment and Job Nonsense?

Touch the Soil News #789 (Feature photo courtesy of Aspersions) Events in the food chain are ripe with insights. The recent purchase of Whole Foods by Amazon has heightened the competition. This morning, it was official that the Amazon owned Whole Foods. Shoppers to Whole Foods found some of the prices reduced. This sent shock waves through the stock market as relates to grocery stocks. Amazon stock was up by about $1.00 which translated into about $504 million in new wealth. However, NASDAQ had a different story about Amazon’s grocery competitors. Over the past few days, the market value of Wal Mart, Kroger, Costco, Sprouts and SuperValue were down almost…

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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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Contortions in the Food Chain

Touch the Soil News #709 (feature photo – CC SA 4.0) We’ve been following the restaurant scene as part of our larger food-chain awareness efforts. In an earlier news piece (#632-Restaurants in Trouble) we reported that overall, approximately 93 new restaurants opened every day in America, but 128 restaurants were closed every day. That is a net loss of 35 restaurant locations a day. Technomic, a foodservice research and consulting company, has also been crunching the numbers. According to Technomic, the bottom line is that fewer customers are visiting restaurants less often than they were a few years ago. Technomic is scratching its head – if the economy is improving…

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Who Is LIDL and Does it Matter?

Touch the Soil News #699 (photo courtesy of Beyond Meat) LIDL is a German grocer that has over 10,000 grocery stores in 28 European countries. LIDL considers itself to be a “discount” grocer/retailer. Part of the retailing strategy of LIDL is a no-frills shopping experience where most products are still in the original shipping box. As boxes are emptied, new ones are put in place. Part of the strategy is to use a minimal number of employees to run a store. The company employs about 315,000 people in Europe. LIDL is owned by the Swartz Gruppe which is the fifth largest retailer in the world. It is the second largest…

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Electrically Delivered Food – Demise of Grocery Stores?

Touch the Soil News #660 (Feature Photo courtesy of PicNic) Across the ocean in Europe – The Netherlands specifically – a new online supermarket started up 18 months ago. Called PicNic, they started up with 150 customers and now serve over 30,000 households. The process strives to get groceries to people at the least cost. Here is how it works: You download the PicNic app. You order online what you want. Within 10 minutes of ordering, you get a confirmation of when the groceries will be delivered to your home. You can follow in real time the delivery vehicle on its way to your house. The service is like the…

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World’s Largest Costco – An Experience

Touch the Soil News #535 Recently, we heard that the world’s largest Costco was in Salt Lake City. The Salt Lake metropolitan area is an asphalt jungle that meanders along the Wasatch Front (mountain range) for over 125 miles. This sprawling metropolitan region is home to 2.5 million people. Following developments in the food chain made us curious about what it’s like in perhaps the largest grocery (and other goods) store in the nation. At 235,000 square feet, we arrived at the largest Costco on a Wednesday – hoping it would be easy to get into. Ironically, the parking lot was full, but when we got inside it was not…

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Grocery Services to Change Food Buying

Touch the Soil News #527 Online giant Amazon has been in the top end food delivery service since 2008. Now they want to actually open brick and mortar stores. Some of the stores will be what is called Click and Collect – buy the groceries online and then stop at a convenient Amazon store to pick them up. Rumors are that Amazon may utilize license-plate scanning, in-store Kiosks and a rapid drive-through pick-up option. While it is still a ways off, rumor also has it that they plan to have a 20-location pilot program in places such as Seattle, Las Vegas, the Bay Area and New York within a couple…

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Target – Re-Inventing Food and Food Retailing

Touch the Soil News #521 Farmers Markets are the epitome of local food and doing away with the middle-man – the grocery store. However, in a bizarre change of directions, grocery stores may start cutting out the farmer. Target Stores, the second largest retailer in the United States behind Walmart has been working on a new project which they will start testing in early 2017. The project is about creating indoor vertical farms within Target stores. Folks can buy fresh herbs and greens right from the indoor farm set-up. Target is working with global design firm IDEO and MIT Media Lab. IDEO has worked with InFarm, a global leader in…

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America’s Top 10 Grocers

Touch the Soil News #356 Ever wonder who the top 10 grocers are in America. Following is the list of the 10 largest grocers: Walmart from Bentonville, Arkansas.  5,249 stores in the U.S.  Annual consumable sales of $247.5 billion. Kroger Foods from Cincinnati, Ohio.   3,732 stores in the U.S.   Annual sales of $109.8 billion. Costco from Issaquah, Washington.   569 stores in the U.S.   Annual consumable sales of 69.4 billion. Albertson’s from Boise, Idaho.   2,205 stores in the U.S.   Annual sales of $58.3 billion. CVS Health from Woonsocket, Rhode Island.   7,911 stores in the U.S.   Annual consumable sales of $44.4 billion. Target from Minneapolis, Minnesota.   1,805 stores in the U.S.   Annual…

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The Fastest Growing (Small) Food Companies (Part 2 of 2)

Touch the Soil News #190 Thanks to research from Inc. 5000, we have some insights into the 10 fastest growing food companies and the trends they are setting. These examples, open our minds to lots of opportunities in food and smaller-scale farming. Following are the last 5. Logo courtesy of Deliver Lean Deliver Lean. This company was inspired by the idea that workers are more productive after a fresh, healthy lunch. This Florida meal delivery service grew its revenues 3,000 percent since 2011. http://www.deliverlean.com/googlesummer2014/ Logo courtesy of Kill Cliff Kill Cliff. This company’s vision is to provide functional recovery drinks. The drinks are fortified with B, C, and E vitamins,…

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