Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

Check Out Line: There’s a lot to digest …


Check Out the lineup at Reuters Food and Agriculture Summit 2009.USA-COSTCO/

Executives from various food firms are slated to speak at the Reuters Summit in Chicago beginning today, with the first handful of executives from companies such as Wal-Mart Stores, Campbell Soup and Hormel.

With the economy front and center, executives are expected to discuss the tug of war to keep food prices at current levels, even as they fight hard to entice shoppers to buy their products on a tight household budget.

Also worrying for food manufacturers is Wal-Mart’s own push with  its own private-label products. The world’s No. 1 retailer, which is also the largest grocery seller in the United States, is relaunching its Great Value brand this month, adding pressure to the tough food market.

Let the price wars begin.

Monday’s participants at the summit feature: Douglas Conant, CEO of Campbell Soup; Andrea Thomas, Senior Vice President, head of private brands at Wal-Mart Stores; Hormel Foods’ CEO Jeffrey Ettinger;  economist Greg Doud from the National Cattleman’s Beef Association; Rob De Groot, executive vice president, North America and Australia, at Reckitt Benckiser; GLG Life Tech’s president Brian Palmieri and President of Unilever Americas, Michael Polk.