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January 27, 2005 dailyLead for Food Industry Leaders

Retail Beat 
Retailers look abroad for expansion opportunities
As competition is increasing at home, giant retailers, such as Wal-Mart, Carrefour and Tesco, are looking abroad to boost revenue, with China earmarked as a "priority market" this year, a Deloitte study said. The research firm found that nine of the world's top 10 retailers have their hand in food retailing.   BBC (1/27)
Group hits Tesco plan for item-level RFID tagging
A consumer group opposed to RFID tagging on privacy grounds said it will urge a boycott of retailer Tesco over its plans to test item-level RFID tagging. "It essentially means that more people will be taking home items containing [RFID] spy chips," said Katherine Albrecht, director of Consumers Against Supermarket Privacy Invasion and Numbering. Tesco officials said the company has no plans to track items after purchase.   Progressive Grocer (1/27)
Wegmans family members move up
Danny Wegman has been promoted to CEO of Wegmans Food Markets, succeeding his father, Robert Wegman, who remains the company's chairman. Danny Wegman's daughter, Colleen, will replace him as president of the Rochester, N.Y.-based supermarket chain.   Progressive Grocer (1/27)
Executives ponder retailing's future at FMI's Midwinter Conference
Morning News Beat's Kevin Coupe reports from the Food Marketing Institute Midwinter Conference, where FMI president Tim Hammonds announced "Project Chill," an industry initiative to combat listeriosis, a food-borne illness. Attendees also listened to speeches from Coca-Cola's E. Nevill Isdell and a presentation of a McKinsey & Co. report about the growing influence of Wal-Mart.   Morning News Beat (1/25),   Morning News Beat (1/26)
NCR and Retalix have announced that ALON USA is installing point-of-sale (POS) systems featuring NCR RealPOS workstations, NCR RealScan bar-code scanners and NCR high-speed thermal receipt printers, together with Retalix software solutions. The systems are being deployed at all of Alon's 7-Eleven locations. Read more.
Consumers reacquaint themselves with carbs
After 9% of people said they were on low-carb diets at the end of 2003, that number dropped to 3.6% as of last November, according to one study, and bread companies are reporting rising sales. Sara Lee said its new whole-grain Delightful line became an instant success.   The Telegraph (Nashua, N.H.)/Sacramento Bee (1/26)
Farmers hope tomato donation proves shortage is over
Florida tomato farmers will donate 1 million pounds of tomatoes to food banks in cities throughout the eastern U.S. in an effort to send a message that supplies have recovered from the ravages of the state's multiple hurricanes last year.   St. Petersburg Times (Fla.) (1/27)
Study: Healthy options lead industry growth trends
Revenue from soy-based drinks grew 31% in 2004 to lead the food and beverage sector's growth last year, followed by drinkable yogurts and eggs, an ACNielsen study said.   Supermarket News (1/27)
Major employers join to offer low-cost coverage to uninsured
Sixty large employers are teaming up on an innovative program to provide low-cost health insurance options to help cover uninsured employees, such as part-time or temporary workers, consultants, contractors and early retirees. The plans are not being subsidized by the participating companies, which include IBM, McDonald's and General Electric, but the high number of employees involved in the collaboration allowed for lower insurance rates. (1/27)
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Supplier News 
Tyson cuts trans fat from "child nutrition" products
Tyson Foods has removed trans fat from fully cooked breaded poultry products destined for both retail and school food-service customers. The company also has added polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat information to its labels. (1/27)
Bacardi lightens up with Island Breeze
Bacardi Global Brands unveiled a low-calorie flavored rum sweetened with sucralose in hopes of capturing a share of the growing "light" beverage market. Island Breeze has half the calories of regular rum and has a lower alcohol content of 18%.   The Miami Herald (free registration) (1/26), (1/26)
Smirnoff holds its own against the heavy-hitters
In a blind taste test of super-premium, high-end vodkas and Smirnoff, Smirnoff vodka was rated tops by a New York Times tasting panel. Eben Klemm of B.R. Guest notes the panel tasted the samples straight, whereas the results may have differed if the vodka was in cocktails. (1/26)
Health, Nutrition & Pharmacy 
Soup as a weight-loss tool
Research indicates soups can make eaters feel just as full as if they ate a regular meal, which can result in lower calorie intake.   The Seattle Times (1/26)
Pharmacy sales propel drugstore results
Despite feeling the pinch from a slow flu season and mail-order prescription drug businesses, Walgreen Co. CEO Dave Bernauer believes there is plenty of business for both drugstores and mail-order services to grow. While front-end sales slowed recently at the chains, Lewis Drugs CEO Mark Griffin expects an upswing in the economy to help sales.   Chain Drug Review (1/31)
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Government Affairs  
Senators want federal restrictions on sales of cold medicines
A bipartisan group of senators is pushing for federal restrictions on over-the-counter sales of cold medicines in an effort to curb illicit production of methamphetamine. Legislation proposed by the lawmakers would require medications containing pseudoephedrine, such as Sudafed and Tylenol, be kept behind pharmacy counters and sold only to customers presenting photo IDs. Industry representatives oppose the move, saying it would create unreasonable barriers for regular customers.   Yahoo!/Associated Press (1/26)
New food pyramid may not be a pyramid
A revision of the 13-year-old food pyramid is set to follow the release of the new government nutritional guidelines, and food companies and associations are hoping their segment occupies the coveted anchor spot at the bottom of pyramid. The new geometric figure may actually take the form of a plate, hourglass or "radiant pyramid," and will be released in the spring. "We have one chance to [do] this, and we really want to get it right," said the executive director of the USDA's Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion.   The Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model) (1/27)
CDC looks for stronger research on obesity's link to marketing
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is conducting two studies to determine the possible link between food marketing to children and obesity and how best to teach healthy living to children. The CDC hopes the studies will lay groundwork to possible government regulation. Some companies are regulating themselves, such as Kraft Foods' decision not to advertise Kool-Aid to children 6 to 11.   The Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model) (1/27)
Global Update 
7-Eleven to double its outlets in Mexico
Over the next five years, 7-Eleven will invest $150 million to open 500 new locations in Mexico. On a worldwide basis, 7-Eleven typically opens 1,500 new locations a year.   Journal and Constitution (Atlanta) (free registration) (1/26)
New Guide Shows How Nutrition Professionals and Supermarkets Can Help Consumers Beat Obesity and Achieve Whole Health
Employing nutrition professionals, supermarkets can help consumers pinch pounds and pennies and find solutions to whole health, according to a new guide from FMI: Supermarkets and Nutrition Professionals -- A Strategic Alliance. Approved by the American Dietetic Association for continuing professional education credits for registered dieticians, the guide details the career opportunities that the industry offers experts in nutrition, including positions in marketing, advertising, product development, prepared foods, natural and organic products, meal solutions, cooking schools, pharmacies, food safety, quality assurance and whole health. For information on the manual and a related test for nutrition professionals to receive education credits, please click here.

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