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• The San Francisco Business Times reports that Safeway “has begun a fight with paid petition-signature gatherers who set up shop outside its stores,” and in some cases is seeking court injunctions.

“The grocery giant says the gatherers fail to abide by its policies and block entrances, harassing customers,” the story says, while the signature gatherers say that Safeway is trying to infringe on their right to freedom of speech.

• The Hartford Courant reports that Target Corp. is adding grocery sections to many of its Connecticut stores. According to the story, “Seven stores in metro Hartford and New Haven were renovated with expanded food layouts earlier this year and six more were due to open in June and July, or later this year. The stores will offer meats, fresh produce, dairy products and a variety of pre-packaged baked goods. Target says it hopes the expansions will make their stores a ‘one-stop-shop,’ capable of meeting the weekly grocery needs of consumers.”
• The Wall Street Journal reports that “American consumers can expect bigger grocery bills in 2012, even as commodity prices are forecast to fall.

“The U.S. is expected to churn out more staples like corn, wheat and soy, which would drive commodity prices lower in 2012. However, it takes several months for a commodity such as corn to make its way down the production line and into a box of cereal, so consumers next year will be buying food made from raw materials bought this year, when crop prices reached multiyear highs ... Weather problems including frosts, floods and droughts have driven commodity prices this year. Corn futures in Chicago reached a record high near $8 a bushel in June, while wheat almost touched $9 a bushel in February, and arabica coffee futures in New York topped $3 a pound, a 14-year high, in May.”

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