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• The Providence Journal reports that discount, limited assortment retailer Aldi plans to open five stores in Rhode Island as part of a New England expansion.

USA Today reports that Campbell Soup’s child-oriented lines “are getting their second sodium reduction in three years … This time, the 12 soups for kids will have 480 milligrams a serving, which means the company can legally label them as healthy foods for the first time.”

And, the paper reports, “The company also announced Monday that it is reformulating 36 ready-to-serve soups and giving them a new brand name: ‘Campbell's Select Harvest.’

“All the soups sold in cans and microwavable bowls currently labeled ‘Campbell's Select’ will be called ‘Campbell's Select Harvest.’ The more upscale soups sold in boxes under that label will not be part of the new line. While they will be lower in sodium, the ‘Campbell's Select Harvest’ soups will not meet other federal government criteria for areas such as fat and cholesterol, meaning they cannot be labeled as healthy.”

• The Wall Street Journal this morning reports that Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia is spending $50 million - $45 million in cash, $5 million in stock – to acquire the media and licensed businesses of chef Emeril Lagasse.

According to the story, “Under terms of the deal, Martha Stewart Living will acquire the rights to television programs such as ‘The Essence of Emeril,’ syndicated episodes of the ‘Emeril Live’ show on the Food Network, a dozen cookbooks and Mr. Lagasse's Web site, as well as licensing deals for Emeril-branded products from All-Clad cookware, Wüsthof cutlery, Wedgwood tableware and T-fal appliances. The acquisition also includes Emeril-branded spices, marinades, coffee, Bam! B-Q sauce and other food products. Mr. Lagasse's restaurants and corporate office are not included in the deal.

“The move is the first major step to diversify Martha Stewart Living's businesses after long relying on the appeal of its namesake, Ms. Stewart. The company is looking to use its expertise in building celebrity brands to expand Mr. Lagasse's businesses, which will operate as its own unit within Martha Stewart Living.”

• The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Service Employees International Union (SEIU) have announced that they are both endorsing Sen. Barack Obama (D-Illinois) in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination.

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