The fortunes of the food industry have darkened since SN initiated its annual Financial Analysts' Roundtable in 1996, as a review of each year's discussion demonstrates: y with high levels of consumer confidence and fuller employment. "Overall, it's just very clear sailing," one analyst said. Analysts viewed the growth of Wal-Mart supercenters as a positive for the traditional industry because it forced it to operate more efficiently. According to one participant, "The supermarket business ...

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