business news in context, analysis with attitude

Last week, in a story about drones, we had a reference that grabbed a couple of readers' attention.

MNB reader Steve Worthington wrote:

I understand that drones are the hot topic currently but who knew there was a Drone Journalism Lab at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln (or any university)?

But another MNB reader wrote:

Our son the journalism major at the University of Nebraska is going to be taking the Drone Journalism course either second semester this year or this coming fall…….I’ll keep you posted as to how it goes.

Go figure.

Last week, we reported on the hiring by The Fresh Market of Pamela Kohn to be its new Executive Vice President and Chief Merchandising Officer. Kohn spent a dozen years of Walmart, and before that worked for both Ahold and Delhaize.

I commented:

Interesting choice by Fresh Market ... because it is hard to imagine two perishables approaches as dissimilar as those of Fresh Market and Walmart. I suspect it says something interesting about CEO Rick Anicetti's plans to make Fresh Market more relevant and aggressive.

One MNB user responded:

The Fresh Market choosing an individual brought up in the Walmart, Stop & Shop and Food Lion culture to head up merchandising and in store experience is truly an interesting choice. Nothing against Ms. Kohn, I’m sure she is an extremely qualified retailer, but it’s my take that the aforementioned retailers in which she gained her experience are process driven regimented retailers whose identity revolves around a low price equals consumer value as the the sales driver and tend to work in an “If Then” top down, pragmatic type of merchandising environment. Low price is their primary brand equity. Retailers in the Whole Foods, Sprouts, and The Fresh Market genre usually take more of a “What if, then” approach to merchandising where price is not the primary driver in brand messaging….but where delivering a visually stimulating, customer centered shopping experience defines the primary customer value equation. Not to mention the cultural differences involved in making these two approaches work. Should be interesting.

MNB user Chuck Jolley had some thoughts about Chipotle:

Chipotle could be the most fascinating case history in food borne illness outbreaks since Jack-in-the-Box.  The same legal team is getting after them. Noting your comment yesterday that the Chipotle’s near you seemed to be suffering, I checked the one nearest me during last night’s dinner rush.  Usually, there is a nearly full parking lot and a line snaking out the door.  It appeared to be closed, only a few cars in the lot which might have been an overflow from the McDonald’s next door and no line.  I pulled in to see if the place was locked up.  It was open and empty.  The taco Bell across the street was doing a great business.

On another subject, MNB reader Andy Casey wrote:

No argument about labelling items containing GMOs, it makes sense to me. I have a niece with a Phd in something I can't pronounce who isn't terribly concerned about food GMOs so I don't typically give it much thought but the phrase "Partially produced with genetic engineering" sounds like Franken-food. Pretty sure we can do better than that.
KC's View: