January 19, 2018

Today's News Summary:

Leading the headlines today is a focus on Panera Bread and how it has petitioned the FDA to define an "egg." On Friday, in conjunction with the launch of Panera Bread’s new breakfast sandwiches featuring 100% real eggs, the company announced it is looking for the FDA to establish a clear definition for the term “egg.” Panera’s standard sandwiches feature “100% real eggs,” and in its planning Panera discovered that current FDA regulations do not establish a definition or a standard of identity for eggs. Without this, companies can sell and advertise items that contain multiple additives, such as butter-type flavors, gums and added color, under the generic term “egg.” Panera’s goal in petitioning the FDA is to better support and inform guests in the absence of a true definition for the term “egg.”

In other news, Amazon’s grocery delivery service has seen a major boost following the retail giant’s acquisition of Whole Foods — but the grocer’s IRL stores seem to be having some issues.
Whole Foods stores are suffering inventory shortages, leading to empty shelves, according to several employees that spoke with Business Insider. The shortages are being attributed to a new ordering system the grocer introduced company-wide in early 2017. (Amazon acquired Whole Foods in June 2017.)

Meanwhile, online grocery sales are predicted to capture 20% of total grocery retail by 2025 to reach $100 billion in consumer sales, according to study by the Food Marketing Institute conducted by Nielsen. While estimates of online grocery’s share of the total $641b U.S. grocery market vary, from 2% to 4.3% according FMI-Nielsen, it is the next major retail sector to be disrupted by ecommerce.

Elsewhere, the United States largely won a World Trade Organization ruling on Thursday that China had failed to comply with an earlier ruling against its punitive tariffs on U.S. broiler chickens. The ruling means Beijing has failed in a bid to use one of Washington’s own favorite trade policy tools - punitive tariffs - against U.S. producers, and will be obliged to lower its tariffs, unless it appeals within 20 days.

Back in the States, the nation's organic food movement, representing dozens of brands, thousands of organic farmers and millions of organic consumers, as well as retailers, certifiers, and organizations, published an open letter in the Washington Post. The cosigners are demanding that the USDA stop interfering with the public process that has created clear standards for animal welfare in organic food production.

Finally today, the U.S. convenience store industry is facing an inconvenient truth: Americans are changing the way they shop for snacks and drinks. The nation’s 154,500 convenience stores are getting squeezed by competition from all sides. Fast-food restaurants and supermarkets are slugging it out in price wars, while dollar stores keep popping up everywhere. And Amazon.com Inc. offers quick delivery for basic items. That’s putting pressure on gas-station retail chains to merge.

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By Linda Lindner


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