business news in context, analysis with attitude

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

• The National Grocers Association (NGA) this week presented The Clarence G. Adamy Great American Award, the association’s highest honor for government relations and public affairs efforts, to Rudy Dory, Executive Chairman at Newport Avenue Market, based in Bend, Oregon.

Newport Avenue Market’s two stores, run by Rudy and his daughter, Lauren Johnson, is one of the nation’s great independent retailers, relentlessly focused on being first, best and/or different in everything they do. I’m thrilled for Rody’s recognition.

• Also at NGA, the Women Grocers of America (WGA) presented the Women of the Year Award to Jan Gee, president of the Washington Food Industry Association, for her 30 years of dedication “to being a voice of small businesses, focusing on the independent grocery industry for the last 10 years.”

• The Wall Street Journal reports that “Dean Foods Co. said it is exploring strategic alternatives including the possible breakup of the biggest U.S. milk producer, as pressure mounts on dairy processors facing low prices and new competition from big retailers.” The company said that “it would consider selling itself, taking the company private, shedding some assets, forming a joint venture or pursuing a merger.”

At the same time, the Journal writes, Dean Foods is going to implementing a series of cost-cutting measures. No timetable for all these changes has been set.

The Journal points out that “competition from store-branded milk, cheese and other dairy products made by Walmart Inc., Kroger Co. and other grocers has grown. Inc. also recently started selling milk online under its Happy Belly brand. That is part of a broader push by major food makers to sell more store-branded products from cookies to ketchup. The trend is putting pressure on packaged-food makers such as Kraft Heinz Co. and Campbell Soup Co. in addition to Dean.

• Starbucks has opened a new Reserve Roastery story in Tokyo, described as “a four-story tribute to premium coffee quality, innovation and human connection … The Roastery introduces customers to more than 100 unique coffee and tea beverages and merchandise, as well as a menu of artisanal Princi Italian fare for the first time in Japan. It also celebrates the Japanese culture of connection and craftsmanship through the first AMU Inspiration Lounge – from the Japanese ‘amu,’ meaning ‘knit together’ – to host community gathering events and is planned to become Starbucks first Specialty Coffee Association certified training location in Japan.”
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