US: Grocers under fire for high food prices
Groundwork Collaborative has released a new report, “What’s Driving the Rise in Grocery Prices - and What the Government Can Do About It”, that claims to identify the underlying causes of recent grocery price inflation, including corporate profiteering, supply chain shocks and climate change. According to Groundwork Collaborative’s report, five categories drove nearly 30% of grocery inflation: beef and veal, poultry; non-frozen non-carbonated juices and drinks, fresh fruits and vegetables, and snacks.
Source: progressivegrocer.com

US: ReposiTrak adds four new California-based produce companies to rapidly expanding food traceability network
ReposiTrak announced the addition of four California-based produce suppliers and wholesalers to the ReposiTrak Traceability Network® (RTN). The new members include: A Bakersfield, California-based agricultural leader, renowned as the largest producer of carrots globally; A wholesale produce distributor in Fullerton, California, offering essential staples, exotic varieties and a selection of other food products; A century-old cultivator of tree fruits out of Reedley, California, producing peaches, plums and apricots, as well as additional crops including grapes, pomegranates, various citrus and kiwi; A third-generation fruit grower headquartered in Dinuba, California, committed to innovation and excellence in agricultural research and development.
Source: businesswire.com

UK: Lidl and M&S fastest-growing supermarkets despite post-Christmas spending slump
Lidl and M&S retained their crowns as the UK’s fastest-growing supermarkets this month, despite a post-Christmas spending slump. According to the latest data from NIQ, shoppers spent 24% less on food and drink compared to December - however, total till sales grew 6.6% year on year in the four weeks ending 27 January 2024. Less expensive food options such as frozen chips, frozen fruit and prepared meal products were also purchased more frequently.
Source: grocerygazette.co.uk

UK: Kids Eat Free scheme returns to Tesco cafés for February half term
Tesco has announced it will be bringing back its Kids Eat Free scheme to its 315 cafés across the UK over the February half term. Popular menu items include beans or avocado on toast, fish fingers, baked chicken goujons or a sandwich. Hot main meals include a vegetable side dish, and the sandwich pick n mix includes a piece of fresh fruit and two snacks, so there’s something healthy and satisfying to feed hungry children from breakfast until dinner.
Source: tescoplc.com

Sweden: Klas Balkow steps down as president and CEO of Axfood
Retailer Axfood has announced that Klas Balkow has decided to conclude his executive career with the company. Together with Axfood’s board of directors, Balkow has agreed that he will leave the role as president and CEO of Axfood by year-end 2024 at the latest.
Source: esmmagazine.com

Spending in Northern Ireland supermarkets hit a record high of £4.2bln last year
Shoppers in Northern Ireland spent an extra £6.8mln on fruit, vegetables and salads in January as they embraced healthy eating following the excesses of Christmas, a report has suggested. Households here had spent a record £5,565 on average in supermarkets over the year to January 21 - up £613 per household on the year before, according to research by information company Kantar.
Source: belfasttelegraph.co.uk

New Zealand: Bringing affordable produce to the South Island
Fruit and vegetable delivery business Wonky Box is set to bring its affordable fresh produce to the South Island. The company's growing popularity across the North Island, particularly amid the cost of living crisis, has long led to an influx of messages calling on the initiative to venture south. The business has already gained 1,400 new South Island customers, many opting for medium to large-sized boxes of fresh fruits and vegetables.
Source: supermarketnews.co.nz

Germany: METRO starts with growth in all segments and channels in Q1 2023/24
METRO reported: "Positive sales trend continued in the first quarter 2023/24: Sales adjusted for currency and portfolio effects grow by 9.1%, in local currency by 6.2%; reported sales increases slightly by 0.1% to €8.1bln (Q1 2022/23: €8.1bln). Sales growth (portfolio and currency adjusted) in all channels: sales in store-based business grows to €6.2bln (+5%), delivery sales to €1.9bln (+24%) and sales of METRO MARKETS to €34mln (+62%)".
Source: newsroom.metroag.de

Israel: Amir brothers bid for controlling Shufersal stake
Yossi and Shlomi Amir have submitted a bid to institutional investors to buy a controlling 24.9% stake in Shufersal Ltd., at a company valuation of NIS 6bln for the supermarket chain. The Amir brothers sold supermarket chain Freshmarket to Paz.
Source: en.globes.co.il

Australia: Regular disruptions for growers
Zerella Fresh, which works with carrot, potato, and onion growers across South Australia, supplies produce to retailers across the country. Rejected foods that do not meet supermarket standards generally end up as donations to Foodbank. Zerella Fresh general manager Renee Pye said weather events were now causing frequent disruptions to supply chains.
Source: abc.net.au

Malaysian retail giant KK Super Mart expands into Uzbek market
The Malaysian supermarket chain KK Super Mart is considering opening stores in Uzbekistan. This was revealed during a meeting at the Embassy of the Republic of Uzbekistan in Malaysia, as Dunyo reported.
Source: daryo.uz

UK: Sainsbury's targets more cost savings, better returns for investors
British supermarket group Sainsbury's set a new cost savings target of 1bln pounds ($1.3bln) over three years and promised to boost returns for shareholders. In a strategy update, the group - which has a 15.7% share of Britain's 229bln pound ($289bln) food market, trailing only Tesco - committed to deliver growth in food sales volumes ahead of the market by March 2027.
Source: reuters.com

Convenience stores expanding into fresh produce and foreign delicacies
Convenience stores in Korea are widening their product portfolio from ready-to-eat food and sodas to locally sourced fresh fruits and exotic delicacies. They are even joining forces with local governments to bring their locally produced food to consumers. Korea Seven, a 7-Eleven operator, has been selling packages of garlic produced in North Gyeongsang and onions from South Jeolla.
Source: koreajoongangdaily.joins.com

Sweden: ICA Gruppen’s report for the fourth quarter 2023
ICA Gruppen reported: "Consolidated net sales increased by 7.6% to SEK38,273mln compared with 2022 (SEK35,558mln) for the fourth quarter. A continued comparatively high inflation rate contributed to the sales increase. Operating profit excluding items affecting comparability was SEK1,487mln (SEK1,389mln)".
Source: icagruppen.se

Fussy eater fix: Coles launches new veggie powders to help Aussies eat more greens and combat food waste
Coles has teamed up with vegetable company Nutri V to launch a range of new and innovative vegetable powders that aim to reduce food waste and provide a convenient way for Australians to increase their vegetable intake. In an Australian-first, the award-winning company reduces food waste by converting imperfect Aussie vegetables such as broccoli, pumpkin and cauliflower into a powder that can be added to meals such as smoothies, muffins, and pasta sauce.
Source: colesgroup.com.au