business news in context, analysis with attitude

...with brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary...

• The Houston Chronicle reports that "Heinz may dominate the U.S. ketchup market, but H-E-B is betting Texas consumers will opt for a home-state favorite. The grocery chain announced Tuesday that it would begin selling ketchup and mustard branded Whataburger, which like H-E-B is headquartered in San Antonio.

"Starting this summer, the fancy and spicy ketchup varieties will be on H-E-B shelves in 20-ounce bottles and the original mustard in 16-ounce bottles."

Not being a Texan, I have no idea why this merits so much press coverage. But what the hell. I'd certainly be willing to try them.

• Published reports say that Suffolk County, New York, has passed two new laws - one that bans the sale and distribution of energy drinks to minors at county parks and beaches, and another that prohibits the mailing of coupons and free samples to minors.

The new laws are expected to be implemented next month, unless lawsuits are filed that seek to prevent them from taking effect. It seems likely that such a suit could be filed, since the American Beverage Association (ABA) has said it is disappointed in the decision because it unfairly targets safe and legal products.

MarketWatch reports that days before is due to report its first quarter sales and profits, CEO Jeff Bezos is trying to control expectations.

"We don’t celebrate a 10% increase in the stock price like we celebrate excellent customer experience," he wrote in his annual letter to shareholders earlier this month," the story notes.

This is a man who knows the right thing to say about customers. More retailers should be focused on Main Street rather than Wall Street.

CNN reports that while pushing kids to clean their plates or denying them certain foods are common - though diametrically opposed - practices for many parents, "researchers at the University of Minnesota found parents who restricted foods were more likely to have overweight or obese children. And while those who pressured children to eat all of their meals mostly had children of normal weight, it adversely affected the way those children ate as they grew older, according to the study published Monday in the journal Pediatrics."

The best approach, according to researchers? Family meals where a healthy and moderate attitude toward food is fostered, and children are encouraged to make smart choices without being forced into one pattern of behavior or another.

Really? I'm shocked.
KC's View: