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Apr 17, 2014

U.S. barbecues grow pricier as beef, pork reach record highs

April 17 (Reuters) – With the Chicago weather finally
getting a little nicer, Chris Anderssen wanted to grill some
burgers outside for a group of family and friends. When she got
to the meat aisle at her local Jewel-Osco supermarket, a case of
sticker shock made her change the menu: extra lean ground beef
was $4.99 a pound.

“Five adults, four teenagers, that’s a lot of hamburger to
buy,” said Anderssen, a 42-year-old mother of two who works as
an office manager. She bought chicken instead for $2.99 a pound.

Apr 17, 2014

Chipotle raising prices as steak, avocados, cheese costs rise

April 17 (Reuters) – Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc on
Thursday said it will increase menu prices for the first time in
nearly three years, fueled by all-time high costs for steak as
well increasingly expensive avocados and cheese.

Shares of the popular burrito chain jumped as much as 6.5
percent on top-line results, but retreated 1.4 percent to
$544.68 in midday trading after executives said they expect food
costs to head even higher.

Apr 16, 2014

Vermont steps closer to passing GMO food-labeling law

April 16 (Reuters) – The Vermont Senate passed a bill on
Wednesday that would make it the first U.S. state to enact
mandatory labeling of foods made with genetically modified
organisms, or GMOs.

Unlike bills passed last year in Maine and Connecticut,
which require other states to pass GMO labeling laws before they
can be enacted, Vermont’s contains no such trigger clause.

Apr 16, 2014

Vermont Senate passes mandatory GMO food-labeling law

By Carey Gillam and Lisa Baertlein

(Reuters) – The Vermont Senate passed a bill on Wednesday that would make the state the first in the United States to enact mandatory labeling of foods made with genetically modified crops.

“We are really excited that Vermont is going to be leading on this,” said Falko Schilling, a spokesman for the Vermont Public Interest Research Group, which backed the bill.

Apr 10, 2014

Wal-Mart partners with Wild Oats to roll back prices on organic food

April 10 (Reuters) – Wal-Mart Stores Inc wants
Americans, even those on a budget, to buy more organic food.

The retailer that leads U.S. stores in grocery sales said on
Thursday it struck a deal to sell Wild Oats brand organic foods
at non-organic prices.

Apr 3, 2014

Coke and investor spar over 2014 compensation plan

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Wintergreen Advisers, which says it owns more than 2.5 million shares of Coca-Cola Co (KO.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) on behalf of clients, on Thursday intensified its critique of the proposed 2014 equity compensation plan of the world’s biggest soda maker.

David Winters, the chief executive officer of Wintergreen, outlined his concerns with the compensation plan late last month in letters to Coca-Cola’s directors and investors, including Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway Inc (BRKa.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), which is Coca-Cola’s largest shareholder.

Apr 3, 2014

MillerCoors says probe shows ex-employees embezzled millions

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – MillerCoors, a U.S. joint venture between SABMiller Plc and Molson Coors Co, on Thursday said it had uncovered a multi-year scheme in which two former employees allegedly embezzled several million dollars.

“Based on an extensive internal and external investigation, MillerCoors believes former employee David Colletti embezzled several million dollars from the company over several years and that former employee Paul Edwards was involved to a lesser extent in the scheme,” company spokesman Jonathan Stern said in a statement.

Mar 30, 2014

Kraft challenged by “healthier” macaroni and cheese brands

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Kraft Macaroni & Cheese has been a favorite meal for generations of American children, but smaller brands made with more natural ingredients are starting to nibble at its market share, part of a trend that is biting into growth at large U.S. food companies.

Zenobia Godschalk, an Atlanta mother of two young boys, stopped buying Kraft’s “mac and cheese” after reading its complicated ingredient list. Now she buys Annie’s organic version in bulk at Costco Wholesale Corp (COST.O: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz).

Mar 5, 2014

Darden cancels investor meeting as activists turn up heat

LOS ANGELES, March 5 (Reuters) – Darden Restaurants Inc
has canceled its analyst and investor meeting slated for
later this month as two activist shareholders lobby for bolder
steps to improve performance at its chain eateries, ranging from
Olive Garden to Capital Grille.

Rather than hold the meeting, which was scheduled for March
28, the company will meet individually with analysts and
investors, a spokesman said on Wednesday.

Mar 3, 2014

Activist investor says Darden CEO has lost its confidence

By Lisa Baertlein

(Reuters) – The activist investor seeking to split Darden Restaurants Inc into two companies said on Monday it has lost confidence in its chief executive’s ability to run the company.

Barington Capital Group LP wants Darden to put its more-mature Olive Garden and Red Lobster brands into one company and its higher-growth chains, including LongHorn Steakhouse and the Capital Grille, into another. It also has called on the company to create a publicly traded real estate investment trust (REIT) to unlock the value of its property holdings.

    • About Lisa

      "Lisa writes about restaurants and grocery stores. She is based in Los Angeles and previously has covered computer software, Internet companies, video games, prescription drugs and municipal bonds."
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