In a move that signals a rejuvenation of its campaigning spirit, Ben & Jerry's is launching its fair trade ice cream in stores in the U.K., Ireland, Belgium and the Netherlands. The products -- which cost the same as regular Ben & Jerry's ice cream -- are made with sugar from a farmers' co-operative in Paraguay and vanilla from four co-operatives in India. The company is simultaneously campaigning for fair trade in the U.S.
Although stores such as Wal-Mart Stores and Kroger are expanding to include more types of merchandise, some consumers are choosing grocery stores that offer smaller but more specialized options. Trader Joe's stocks unusual items including mango sauce and almond meal, while Wild Oats offers more options for special diets, including gluten-free, organic and trans-fat free products.
H.J. Heinz is encouraging consumers to use more ketchup. It recently resized its 64-ounce bottle to make it easier to access in grocery stores and to fit into refrigerator doors, and is planning a campaign that will put ketchup-based recipes in the hands of consumers.
Whole Foods Market is considering repricing nonperishable items and branded organic and natural products in order to better compete with other grocers, CEO John Mackey said. The company, which increased its earnings to $53.9 million in most recent quarter from $40.4 million a year prior, has 86 stores under development and plans to bid for several former Albertsons locations.
Retailers including Wal-Mart Stores, Tesco and Carrefour are negotiating joint-venture deals with Indian investment and real estate companies to try to get a foothold in the country, which maintains strict rules regarding foreign investment. India's $300 billion retail market is growing 30% every year.