THE FOOD MARKETING INSTITUTE, Washington, has filed comments for the third time with the U.S. Customs Service strongly opposing its proposal to require country-of-origin labeling on the front panel of frozen-produce packages. The FMI said the marking requirement is "unnecessary and would take away from the more important ingredient and nutrient information on the back and side panels of the label." According to the FMI's 1997 consumer research study, "Trends in the United States: Consumer Attitudes and the Supermarket," almost all of those surveyed said nutrition information was "very" or "somewhat important" to them. According to the FMI, the Customs Service proposal "is based on unsupported claims by certain domestic packers that frozen packages are cold to the touch and, therefore, consumers do not look at the rear or side panels. Customs has never required marking to be on the front panel of any container. Front-panel marking would give greater prominence to country-of-origin information than to nutrition and ingredient information that is so valuable to consumers."
om federal and state governments. An estimated 8 million Americans are eligible to shop at the stores, which sell products at the wholesale cost plus a 5% markup. The Defense Commissary Agency estimates a dollar spent in a commissary buys the same market basket of goods at $1.40 spent in a commercial supermarket.
U.S. supermarkets are concerned about what managers see as unfair competition from post commissaries.
Looking at the future of military retail activities, the Congressional Budget Office said money could be saved either by consolidating exchange and commissary operations, or doing away with them and paying active-duty personnel more money. The report was prepared for House committees charged with writing the federal budget and initiating government reform.
THOMAS P. LEONARD, president of Stew Leonard's dairy store in Danbury, Conn., was expected to plead guilty late last week to two counts of tax fraud in U.S. District Court in New Haven, Conn., according to a local newspaper. In April, he was indicted on five counts of tax violations, similar to those that sent his father, Stew Leonard Sr., to prison in 1993. Tom Leonard has been living in England, free on $100,000 bond. Stew Leonard Sr. was released from prison in June.
GRAND UNION CO., Wayne, N.J., has established a community policing partnership at the company's Ridgewood Food Market, Ridgewood, N.J. Ridgewood police chief Louis Mader said Grand Union is providing space in the store for a podium and telephone for police officers to use during their shifts.
SALES MARK, Plano, Texas, said it has effected a merger with Bradshaw Group, a food broker based in Santa Fe Springs, Calif., giving it brokerage offices in 46 contiguous markets. Bradshaw calls on customers in California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Nevada and Arizona while Sales Mark has offices in 17 states in the Deep South, the Southeast, the Southwest and the Midwest.
THE ORGANIZERS of "Savings of Hope" in southern California said their goal is to raise $1.3 million this year, compared with $1.2 million last year. "Savings of Hope" is a monthlong promotion in which participating manufacturers make a donation to the City of Hope National Medical Center and Beckman Research Institute in Los Angeles every time consumers buy certain products, which are designated by special shelf tags. Participating retailers are Albertson's, Food 4 Less, Hughes Family Markets, Lucky Stores, Ralphs Grocery Co., Stater Bros. Markets, Vons Cos. and members of Certified Grocers of California.
A NEW STATER BROS. MARKET that opened this month in Laguna Hills, Calif., is attempting to cater to some of the 17,000 age-70-and-older customers from nearby Leisure World by offering a host of special conveniences, including an enclosed, air-conditioned 2,000-square-foot lobby -- directly alongside an exterior bus stop -- that features seating for 30 people; 30 seats near the checkstands; 30 seats outside the store; double the restroom facilities, and a special lane for the Leisure World van that transports residents to go shopping. Leisure World is located 4 miles from the store, which is the 111th unit for the Colton, Calif.-based chain.
AN INDIVIDUAL attending a college football game in Los Angeles went home $10,000 richer thanks to a half-time giveaway by Vons Cos., Arcadia, Calif. The occasion was a game between the University of Southern California and the University of Nevada-Las Vegas at the Coliseum. During the first half, three seat numbers were drawn at random, and the three individuals in those seats were each given a chance to pick a key, one of which would open the lock on an armored car. The first two keys didn't fit the lock but the third one did. When the car door opened, colored balloons were released, and the winner's name was written on an oversized check made out in the amount of $10,000. Bill Davila, president emeritus of Vons and the chain's on-air spokesman, presided over the event, which was part of Vons' $1 million "Swipestakes" -- an ongoing promotion that will award $1 million to a frequent-shopper cardholder later in the fall. Vons is a division of Safeway, Pleasanton, Calif. Vons held a similar $10,000 giveaway a week earlier at a football game between Fresno State University and the University of Oregon. Chain officials declined to say last week whether additional giveaways are scheduled.