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Reily Foods plans to buy French Market coffee business

BY Jenna Duncan

NEW ORLEANS Reily Foods Company yesterday announced that it has made an agreement with French Market Coffee to purchase the business.

Reily Foods, the maker and distributor of such grocery store staples as Blue Plate mayonnaise, CDM coffee and Luzianne teas, has not reported the sum of its buyout offer for the iconic New Orleans French Market Coffee brand. Reily Foods said that it expects its purchase to expand the French Market brand into numerous new markets.

Before it is complete, the acquisition must be voted on by shareholder. However, the transaction is expected to be finished by the end of the year, published reports said.

Both American Coffee, the company that started the French Market Coffee tradition, and Reily Foods, are family-owned companies that are more than 100 years old.

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HEB, Food Lion help families plan meals for $10

BY Jenna Duncan

SAN ANTONIO, Texas Studies have shown that more people are eating at home to save money, instead of going out to restaurants. To respond to the growing number of home-cooked meals, HEB and Food Lion have both launched a line of budget meals designed to save customers time and money.

HEB’s “Feed a family of four for less than $10” is a program running on HEB’s Web site and in an email newsletter that presents seven different meal plans to feed a family four for under $10 with its “Fully Cooked” as the centerpiece. Recipes include a fajita Santa Fe chicken dinner, popcorn chicken salad dinner, spaghetti and meatballs and Texas ranch burger entrees.

Similarly, Food Lion has launched a “dinner for under $10” program to help families budget meals. Help in planning on a budget can be found on Food Lion’s Web site as well as with in-store signs.

“Our customers recently could find in one place all the ingredients for a spaghetti dinner for four for under $10,” Gene Faller, Food Lion’s vice president of the dry category said. “The next featured meal was a chicken biscuit dinner for under $10.”

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PepsiCo returns focus to soft drinks

BY Jenna Duncan

NEW YORK PepsiCo is directing attention back to its soft drink brands, to try to beef up declining sales, the company has said. Starting in 2009, the company will kick off a round of new promotions and try alternative approaches to marketing its carbonated drinks, spokespersons have said.

Pepsi will make an extended commitment to redirect money and attention to its soft drinks over the next several years, The New York Times last week reported.

Carbonated beverage sales have dropped in the United States, and Pepsi has seen a decline. Its Aquafina bottled water business has also been hit with lagging sales, despite the strong sales of its overseas business and strong sales of its Frito-Lay snack products.

Pepsi’s biggest rival, Coca-Cola, has announced in lieu of the drop in soft drink sales that it would be raising prices on its soft drinks.

The U.S. beverage segment reported 1 percent revenue growth in the second quarter of 2008, but volume dropped by 1 percent, according to reports in The Times. PepsiCo’s individual shares fell by 2.9 percent, or $1.72, on Friday to $57.80 per share.

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