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Investment and Job Nonsense?

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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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Cash for Groceries

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Touch the Soil News #761 (feature photo – Ellin Beltz – CC SA 3.0) An Editorial by Benjamin Gisin Do you ever get tired of using debit cards at the grocery store? People are always fussing with the card reader and being asked if you want e-mail stuff. When checking out, folks leave loads of statistics about what they purchased. Grocers use this information target you with ads, promotionals and may even stalk you when shopping online. Over the past few years I have been favoring the use of cash. There are no questions asked, no hassling with the swipe machine, no risks of identity theft and I leave no…

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Food Titans – Prepare for Battle

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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

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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

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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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Who Is LIDL and Does it Matter?

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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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Wasteless – A Better Approach to Grocery Shopping

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Touch the Soil News #677 Wasteless is a start-up tech company from Israel. It is re-inventing how grocery stores manage inventory (food), pricing and minimizing waste. The new technology is headed for America and other parts of the word. In the U.S., almost 50 percent of food from the farm field never gets into a consumer’s stomach. All along the food chain the waste takes place. The largest concentration of waste takes place in grocery stores. Modern grocers are inefficient when it comes to managing perishable and processed food. Estimates are that U.S. grocers lose a $1 billion a day in food losses. Wasteless is placing RFID chips on food…

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World’s Largest Costco – An Experience

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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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Target – Re-Inventing Food and Food Retailing

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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

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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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