business news in context, analysis with attitude

• The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that while Twin Cities grocers traditionally have managed to avoid some of the competitive pressures that come with aggressive national chains such as Wal-Mart, this is changing…and so many of the local companies – ranging from Lunds/Byerly's, Kowalski's, Rainbow, and Cub - are emphasizing increased "service, amenities and convenience" as their differential advantage.

• Forget rising gas prices. Reuters reports that there could be a shortage pf green coffee beans next year because of a) increased demand, and b) a less than optimal growing season. The result is likely to be a hike in the price of a cup of coffee that could last as long as two years.

• The Sacramento Business Journal reports that the Bronco Wine Co. has agreed not to sell three brands of wine with labels suggesting that the wine comes from Northern California's Napa Valley unless 75 percent of the grapes used to make the wine actually come from Napa.

The deal follows a long legal battle in which some Napa vintners looked to restrict use of the Napa name to companies actually using Napa grapes.

• The Irish Examiner reports that since the abolition of what in Ireland was called the Groceries Order – which set minimum prices for food products – prices on supermarket products actually are up a little bit. The order was abolished because of a dominant opinion that it was keeping prices artificially high, and there was an expectation that food bills might drop close to 10 percent with its elimination.
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