Ask a typical U.S. supermarket operator how often he or she pays attention to foreign food retail developments and you would probably hear, "Almost never," or, "Only if my life depends on it." Now it turns out their business life may depend on it. Issues as diverse as electronic standards, food safety and consumer preferences are taking on new global dimensions, and retailers everywhere need to take notice. That case was made compellingly this month by Pierre-Olivier Beckers, president and ...

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