Food retailers are working to differentiate themselves from each other to gain an upper hand in sales. While some stores focus on providing bargain prices in supercenter formats, other retailers, such as Giant Eagle, are turning their attention to the more affluent shoppers and creating warmer, more inviting spaces to shop, by choosing different paint colors, tiled floors and chefs who demonstrate cooking techniques. Attempts at differentiation come after a report from FMI finding weekly sales at grocery stores are down for the first time in a decade.
Archer Daniels Midland plans to open more processing plants to supply the country's growing demand for protein-based foods and vegetable oils. China is the world's largest importer of soy-based products, and ADM currently operates 10 Chinese plants.
Executives from companies such as Tyson Foods and Procter & Gamble are in Arkansas this week to meet with Wal-Mart executives and discuss how to implement the retailer's mandate that top suppliers begin replacing bar codes with RFID technology by 2005. The meeting will be a showcase for technology companies such as Texas Instruments that are looking for customers for their RFID tags.
Z-Trim is an insoluble, calorie-free fiber that passes through the body without being digested. The company marketing it, Fiber Gel Technologies, asserts it could be used in lieu of some fat, including trans fat, in food manufacturing plants; Z-Trim is still being tested in various products by several manufacturers.
Food manufacturers, processors and shippers may not be ready to implement the government's regulations to protect the nation's food supply from terrorist attacks when the rules go into effect next month. A recent survey found more than half of executives within the food industry are unaware of the 2002 Bioterrorism Act while more than 70 percent are concerned that the act will hurt free trade.