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5 things: Is the Aldi acquisition a big win?

Here’s 5 things you may have missed in grocery

Why the Aldi acquisition may be a win: The big news in grocery last week was that Aldi would really be ramping up its U.S. expansion, via the acquisition of Southeastern Grocers — some 400 grocery Winn-Dixie and Harveys supermarkets stores. According to Forbes Senior Contributor Walter Loeb, there are several reasons why the Aldi deal makes good sense. 1. Consolidation of smaller supermarket companies makes sense, since combined operations have greater efficiencies and are more likely to be more profitable. 2. The Southeastern Grocers’ stores were largely competing with Publix, a successful, dominant operation. And 3. Supermarkets that aggressively use low prices in the current environment are winners – i.e. Publix, Costco, and Albertsons, as well as Aldi and Lidl. —Chloe Riley

You can’t get it anywhere else: Oh, Grimace shake. The times we could have had. The laughter, the joy. It was not meant to be. Call it my ultimate summertime failure … my lips never actually touched the cool purple sensation from McDonald’s (thanks for the tease TikTok). But hey, it did succeed in getting me to make a special trip to Mickey D’s. That’s the whole goal of these types of exclusive fast food offers: you’ll end up buying something, even if they’re out of the thing you went there for. Well, now it appears Kroger is following that same blueprint, offering limited-time Late Night Loaded Taco Doritos, available exclusively at Kroger. It’s the grocer’s attempt to get more shopper butts in-store … you won’t find these Doritos at Target or Walmart. Kroger has tried other tactics, including food halls, but limited-edition product collabs appear to be the most successful. For my sake, let’s hope the Doritos do not become their own TikTok challenge. But if they do, I’m sure Kroger would welcome it. —Bill Wilson

The guilt of Walmart? “By shopping at Walmart, I am likely contributing to the demise of the independently-owned grocery store, which is disappearing across the country.” So writes Time Magazine contributor Alana Semuels in a recent essay about how Walmart and other big chains, like Dollar General, are not so slowly contributing to the elimination of independent grocery as we know it. Despite her guilt, Semuels says shopping at the retail giant is really easy with regard to one element: price. But, she says, Walmart comes by those prices — one of the biggest reasons the company captures one in four U.S. grocery dollars — unfairly due to the retailer’s immense market power. But a low price is a low price is a low price, and it remains to be seen whether Robinson-Patman will be enforced, and whether doing so would result in higher grocery prices across the county. —CR

H-E-B gets wild: Texas grocer H-E-B is stepping outside its comfort zone of fresh food and customer service to enter filmmaking. H-E-B enlisted Texas-based production company Fin and Fur Films, where admittedly, the founder Ben Masters first questioned why a grocery store would want to make wildlife movies when all he knew of H-E-B was a “love affair with the butter tortillas and guacamole.” Masters ultimately agreed to help the grocer use its influence to lean into environmental efforts by launching a five-part docu-series covering Texas parks and wildlife. Overall, the stories show how researchers and organizations work to balance the Texas population growth with care for the land and animals. Moviegoers can watch the films online and at select Alamo Drafthouse locations in late August. —Alarice Rajagopal

Grocery king wants the hot dog crown: We love a good effin’ hot dog story (evident if you’re a 5 things regular). So when the news hit that Sam’s Club was undercutting Costco’s hot dog claim to fame, we could not help ourselves. Some things are just worth the cost of membership, like a hot dog and soda. And now you have two market warehouses throwing the gloves down to become the champion of the frankfurter world. Sam’s Club has now priced its hot dog and soda combo at $1.38 … 12 cents cheaper than Costo’s combo. It appears to be paying off. Kath McLay, a former Sam’s Club CEO and now a chief over a Walmart, told Bloomberg that the combo meal sales jumped so much it generated a noticeable boost to profits. In fact, Sam’s same store sales growth beat Costco’s during the second quarter (6% compared to just under 5%). Let this hot dog cage match begin. Are you going to come out of your corner, Costco? —BW

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