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• Supervalu has announced that its Acme, Albertsons, bigg's, Cub Foods, Farm Fresh, Hornbacher's, Jewel-Osco, Lucky, Shaw's, Shop 'n Save and Shoppers Food & Pharmacy stores have begun making the switch to canola oil, a trans fat-free cooking oil, in their delis. The change to canola oil, according to the company, includes an extra, added benefit: a reduction of saturated fat, which provides customers with better-for-you choices to support their ever-changing lifestyles.

The transition is expected to be complete in all participating Supervalu banner stores by Labor Day.

• The New York Times reports on a new study by the University of Pennsylvania saying that the more overweight a child happens to be, the greater the likelihood that he or she will be absent from school. According to the story, “On average, underweight children were absent 7.5 days, normal weight children 10.1 days, overweight children 10.9 days and the obese 12.2 days.”

Andrew B. Geier, the lead author of the study, tells the Times that the research suggests that the reasons for the absences are psychological and psychosocial, not physical.

• The International herald Tribune reports that Starbucks plans to open its first Russia store – in a Moscow mall – next month.

Opening in Russia has been a decade-long process, as Starbucks dealt with a series of trademark and legal issues. However, analysts say it is likely to be worth the wait – Russian consumer spending was up 24 percent last year alone, and citizens there are expected to spend more than $12 billion (US) eating out in 2009.

Russia is the 43rd country in which Starbucks operates.

• The New York Times reports that McDonald’s is upscaling its European efforts, spending upwards of $800 million (US) this year alone to remodel more than 1,200 European facilities this year: “Aiming to create a more relaxed experience in a sophisticated atmosphere, McDonald’s is replacing bolted-down, plastic, yellow and white furniture with lime-green designer chairs and dark leather upholstery.”

According to the story, at least part of the impetus for the remodeling efforts is a desire to establish that McDonald’s isn’t the typical “ugly American.” In order to continue to grow in Europe, the company knows that it has to recast itself in a more sophisticated light.
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