business news in context, analysis with attitude

With brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary…

•  KRON-TV News reports that San Francisco's board of supervisors "have passed a resolution Tuesday to give them hazard pay, after urging large chain grocery stores to raise hourly wages for employees by $5.

"The $5 in hazard pay would last while the city remains in the purple, red or orange tier on the state’s tiered system … A similar measure was passed in Los Angeles also on Tuesday, which they called 'Hero Pay'."

The story says that "the extra compensation would not be required of small mom-and-pop groceries."

All in favor of hero pay, but I have trouble with applying such assessments to just one retail segment … and in this case, just one part of the segment.

•  Ben & Jerry's is getting into the dog treat business.

USA Today reports this morning that the Unilever-owned company is "introducing a line of frozen dog treats, its first foray into the lucrative pet food market. Doggie Desserts, sold in 4-ounce cups, go on sale in U.S. groceries and pet stores this month.

"The treats come in two flavors: pumpkin with cookies and peanut butter with pretzels. Both are made with a base of sunflower butter. They're made from the same ingredients Ben & Jerry's uses in its non-dairy human desserts."

The move is canny, since dog adoptions have gone way up during the pandemic - people spending more time at home decided they wanted a pet, top the extent that the Washington Post this morning has a story about how "some shelters and humane rescue groups are seeing double the typical number of requests from people to adopt dogs since the pandemic hit the United States in early spring."  In fact, some shelters have a puppy shortage … though there are some concerns about what will happen to these pets once people go back to the office in a post-pandemic world.

•  The Wall Street Journal reports that "Tyson Foods Inc., the biggest U.S. meat company by sales and the nation’s top chicken supplier, and Pilgrim’s Pride Corp., the second-largest U.S. poultry processor by sales, separately said Monday they struck agreements to help resolve a four-year legal battle over alleged collusion in the $65 billion chicken industry.

"Restaurant chains, supermarket operators and food distributors have accused Tyson, Pilgrim’s and other major chicken companies of coordinating production and pricing to boost prices for staples like chicken breasts, tenders and wings."

The story says that "both settlements remain subject to court approval, and neither company has admitted to the chicken buyers’ claims.  The agreements don’t cover lawsuits filed separately by individual plaintiffs."