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Top Stories for 3/7/14
Safeway is set to be acquired by Cerberus Capital Management through AB Acquisition, owner of Albertsons. The merger would create a combined network of more than 2,400 stores, 27 distribution facilities, and 20 manufacturing plants. Albertsons CEO Bob Miller would become the combined company's executive chairman and Safeway CEO would become president and CEO. Deutsche Bank analysts Karen Short believes Kroger should bid for Safeway and that Safeway could fetch a price above $40 per share (PDF). News Release
Five states joined Missouri in a lawsuit against California over its law requiring more space for all egg-laying hens. Nebraska, Alabama, Oklahoma, Kentucky, and Iowa joined Missouri in its challenge, alleging that the state of California is unconstitutionally attempting to regulate farming practices beyond its borders, reports Agri-Pulse. Full Story
The Fresh Market plans to open between 23 and 25 stores in fiscal 2014, seven of which will be in Florida. The company will close four stores in the Houston and Sacramento markets after a disappointing 2013 and a 90.4 percent drop in fourth-quarter profit. A shift in strategy will push for an increased emphasis on existing market expansion, concentrating on the Southeast, while taking a more cautious approach to entering new major metropolitan markets, reports Triad Business Journal. Full Story
The USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service will hold a meeting of the National Organic Standards Board (PDF) April 29–May 2 in San Antonio, Texas. Written public comments are invited in advance of the meeting and the meeting will include scheduled time for comments from the public.
A few producers are redefining vodka from the colorless, odorless, and tasteless standard. Less filtering is helping to achieve a new product that showcases the spirit's character, as whiskey makers are apt to do. Tad Dorda, CEO of Chopin vodka, created the Single series, with each vodka being made with single ingredients, like young potato, potato, rye, and wheat, filtered once. Other producers getting in on vodka reformulation are Swedish Karlsson's and Japanese AO Vodka, reports The Wall Street Journal. Full Story (Subscription Required)
Lifeway Foods has introduced Veggie Kefir smoothies in tomato, cucumber, and beet varieties, showing a continuation of the trend of savory flavors showing up in new places, such as cookies, yogurt, and tea. Said to be the first drink on the market that combines vegetables and kefir, each bottle contains one full serving of vegetables as well as 12 probiotic cultures.
Dominique Ansel, creator of the Cronut, will debut his newest invention, milk and cookie shots, in Austin at South by Southwest, and plans to bring them to his bakery in New York City. The concept is a chocolate chip cookie glass that holds a shot's worth of milk, reports New York Daily News. Full Story
Mamma Chia has introduced two new flavors to its Chia Squeeze Vitality Snack line, mango coconut and wild raspberry. Both flavors are made using nutrient-rich organic chia seeds infused with organic fruits and vegetables. All Chia Squeezes are non-GMO verified, gluten-free, vegan, kosher, and certified organic.