One measure of the increasing competition among the food channels is a greater importance attached to the ability to get new products on the shelf in a timely manner. Speed-to-shelf is one of the critical components where retailers see an advantage. According to a Food Distributors International study last year called "Whose Shelf Is It, Anyway?", it takes the big food chains 3.6 weeks to get an item on the shelf; drug chains, 4 weeks; mass, 4.1 weeks; and the independents, 7 weeks. There ...

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