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Gristedes Owner Favors Nutrition Education

NEW YORK — Supermarket magnate and New York City mayoral candidate John Catsimatidis supports more nutrition education for children as a solution to improving the health of New Yorkers, he told SN on Thursday.

Earlier this week Catsimatidis, the owner of the 32-store Gristedes chain, officially launched his campaign for mayor.

“This is my last turn at bat,” he told SN. “I am 64 years old, and I am not getting any younger.”

Catsimatidis said his approach would differ from that of current New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who last year spearheaded the creation of the nation's first restriction on soda sizes. Set to take effect March 12, the law would limit the size of certain sugary drinks to 16 ounces in restaurants, movie theaters and other foodservice venues.

John Catsimatidis
John Catsimatidis

Catsimatidis said he favors instead promoting more childhood education about calories and nutrition.

“That’s a long-term solution, but I think it’s a better solution than shooting from the hip, like Bloomberg does,” he said. “Personally, I am all for having healthier people, but instead of forcing businesses to comply within 35 minutes, you need to have a good phase-in period."

Catsimatidis — whose holdings include oil businesses and whose net worth was reported by the New York Times to be about $3 billion — said he would run as a Republican for the November election, with a pro-business approach.

He said his experience operating supermarkets in New York City have given him sympathy for those who seek to make a living there.

“In some places, especially in the inner city, we’re getting $5,000 to $6,000 a week in parking tickets,” he said. “We can’t get a delivery of groceries without getting a ticket.

“So I say to the people of New York, and especially to the shop owners, ‘I feel your pain,’ because I have the same pain.”

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