business news in context, analysis with attitude

...with random, italicized and occasionally gratuitous commentary...

• The Augusta Chronicle has an interesting piece in which it quotes Sue Perry, deputy editor at ShopSmart Magazine as saying that “in the past, shoppers could save up to 50 percent when they purchased store brands. Now, the savings are, on average, about 30 percent.” The reason? Companies are investing more money in making sure the products and their packaging are the equivalent of national brands, and those efforts cost money. Those costs have to be passed on to shoppers...

• Great piece in the New York Times yesterday about actor and Louisiana native Wendell Pierce (HBO’s “Treme”), who this summer with two business partners plans to open several supermarkets under the Sterling Farms banner in neighborhoods where supermarkets are scarce. They’ve already opened up a c-store - Sterling Express - described as “the first in a convenience store chain that will sell fresh produce, salads and competitively priced staples in addition to the usual chips and sodas. In intriguing — and intended — ways, his effort to bring more-nutritious fare to an urban food desert parallels the TV series, which charts New Orleans’s struggle to rebuild after Hurricane Katrina.”

Here’s the great quote from Pierce: “Bringing fresh food into these areas helps create economic growth. But it also helps people understand that there’s value in eating better. It’s not something that’s only available in a better neighborhood.”

You can read the whole story here>/A>.

In a place like New Orleans, the story makes clear, great supermarkets are as important as great restaurants. But I think it is not just in places like New Orleans. I think that having great places to buy and eat food is almost as important as breathing.
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