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USA Today reports this morning that “low cattle supplies in 2012 are expected to drive up beef prices for the second year in a row, stretching consumers still coping with high unemployment and only modest wage increases.”

The projections are based on a US Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimate that the number of cattle in the country is down two percent over the past year to 91 million, and at its lowest level since 1952; at the same time, experts say that they expect retail beef prices will be up between four and five percent this year.

• The Chicago Tribune reports that Roundy’s “is seeking to raise $250.9 million in its initial public offering, up more than $20 million from its original plans last month.” The story says that Roundy’s hopes to sell more than 18 million shares priced at between $10-$12 per share.

The story also notes that “Chicago-based private equity firm Willis Stein currently owns 66 percent of Roundy's. It will still own 37 percent of the company after the offering.”

• The Los Angeles Times reports that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has seized almost 14 percent of the orange juice imported into the US since early this month because “ it contained trace amounts of a fungicide, carbendazim ... FDA officials said the juice was safe to drink but that carbendazim, used to combat a fungus that leaves black spots on tree leaves, was not allowed in the U.S.”

"We don't feel that this is a safety problem," FDA spokeswoman Siobhan DeLancey tells the Times. "This is more of a regulatory issue. We don't have any plans to call for a wholesale recall of orange juice."

In the UK, the Telegraph reports that online grocer Ocado plans to cut prices on some 600 SKUs, making them 10 percent cheaper than equivalent products sold by Tesco and generating yet more heat in the nation’s continuing grocery price wars.

USA Today has a story about the Greek yogurt boon, reporting that Chobani is expanding to meet rising consumer demand for the thicker, richer, and lower-fat yogurt style that now accounts for a quarter of the total US yogurt market.

According to the story, Chobani is increasing production at its Syracuse, NY-area plant “from 1.5 million cases a week to more than 2 million when the current $134 million expansion is completed this year. Another $128 million Chobani plant being built 2,000 miles (3,200 kilometers) west in Twins Falls, Idaho, will add still more.

“About 60 miles (100 kilometers) northeast, the Greek company Fage is in the early stages of doubling the capacity of its 3-year-old plant in Johnstown, N.Y., to about 160,000 tons of yogurt annually.”

"I personally do not believe that the yogurt story has started yet. I believe the yogurt story in this country is about to start," Chobani's founder, Hamdi Ulukaya, tells the paper.
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