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• The New York Times reports that Pilgrim's Pride has raised its bid for Hillshire Brands, to about $6.7 billion, which is above the $6.1 billion bid by Hillshire made by Tyson Foods.

According to the story, "The fight over Hillshire by the two country’s two biggest chicken producers highlights the continued consolidation within the food industry, as companies pursue higher growth. Both Pilgrim’s Pride and Tyson view Hillshire’s well-known brands, which also include Sara Lee desserts and its namesake lunch meats, a way to gain higher-margin products … The two bidders have been emboldened by high chicken prices and cheap corn feed costs, giving them the resources to pursue acquisitions."

• In the UK, the Guardian has a story about how the British government is funding 21 technology projects that it hopes will "help independent retailers and town centres that are struggling to cope with a dramatic shift towards online shopping." The 21 projects were chosen from 181 applicants; each of the 21 gets six months to do feasibility testing, and the best of the best then will get additional funding.

Among the projects being tested: a local currency that is called "town-to-town pound," which actually supplants the national currency while offering users some benefits; and a service "that enables shoppers to find and book available parking spaces using a smartphone, which then guides them to their destination."

• The Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program and The Safina Center (formerly Blue Ocean Institute) announced yesterday that after four years of partnering with Whole Foods on seafood sustainability issues, they both now will use "Monterey Bay Aquarium’s science-based criteria and methodology for rating the sustainability of wild-caught seafood, offering consumers consistent recommendations from trustworthy nonprofit conservation organizations."

The agreement, they say, will give them "a greater capacity to evaluate a larger number of species and fisheries. The more species that are rated, the more seafood choices retailers like Whole Foods Market can offer."
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