business news in context, analysis with attitude

• The Conference Board says that its Consumer Confidence Index was up 14 points, to 54.9, for May 2009 from the month before, driven largely by an improved Expectations Index, which was up 22 points to 72.3.

Reuters Health reports that a new study by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) suggests that there is no connection between the consumption of red meat and the risk of breast cancer in older women, contradicting other studies that have indicated that there could be a link between the two.

• The San Francisco Chronicle reports that after seven years of planning, “Berkeley Bowl, the landmark grocery famed for its fresh produce and gourmet fare, is slated to open its sprawling sister store next week. Berkeley Bowl West will be a larger, more spacious version of the original, offering everything from organic soybeans to 24-ounce cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon.”

• Whole Foods said yesterday that its Local Producer Loan Program has provided producers throughout the United States with $2.5 million in low-interest loans that are designed “to make it easier for local and independent farmers, producers and food artisans to grow their businesses and bring more local products to market.” Some 50 loans have been made, and there are 20 applications still pending.

• Food Lion took note yesterday that its Bloom format is five years old this week…and since its launch, has grown to 64 units in four states in he Mid-Atlantic and Southeast US.

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